Japan said Friday it executed two death-row inmates in the first death sentences carried out since December, bringing the total number for the current administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to 16.
The Justice Ministry identified the two as Yasutoshi Kamata, 75, and Junko Yoshida, 56. Kamata was hanged in Osaka and Yoshida in Fukuoka.
Kamata was sentenced to death for killing four women and a 9-year-old girl between 1985 and 1994 in Osaka. Yoshida was convicted of masterminding two murders to obtain insurance money in 1998 and 1999. The death sentences of Kamata and Yoshida were finalized in 2005 and 2010, respectively.
Human rights group Amnesty International Japan lodged a protest against the executions.
The group pointed out that the total number of executions under Abe’s government, including those under his first administration from 2006 to 2007, stood at 26.
The number “stands out enormously compared with that under recent governments, which reflects the current administration’s disregard for human life,” the group said.
Japan’s execution “goes against the global trend for abolishing capital punishment” since as many as 140 countries have already abolished or stopped executions, it said.
Japan is one of the few major industrialized countries to administer capital punishment, alongside the United States.