A Chinese man has been executed for murdering a Japanese family of four during a botched robbery. Japanese officials described the tragedy as an "extremely cruel and brutal case."
Japan on Thursday executed a 40-year-old Chinese man who was convicted of murdering a Japanese family in 2003.
Justice Minister Masako Mori said she had ordered the execution of the man "after careful consideration."
Wei Wei, a former language student, pleaded guilty to four counts of murder. However, he had consistently denied he was a central figure in the murder.
Two of Wei Wei's accomplices fled to China, where they were arrested and convicted for the murders. One of them received a life sentence while the other was executed.
Wei and his associates murdered Japanese businessman Shinjiro Matsuomoto during a botched robbery. His wife and two children were found drowned, strangled and smothered.
Their bodies were handcuffed and weighted down before being cast into Hakata Bay in Fukuoka.
"It is an extremely cruel and brutal case in which the happily living family members, including an 8-year-old and 11-year-old, were all murdered because of truly selfish reasons," Mori said.
Dozens on death row
Japan is one of two G7 countries that still use capital punishment, alongside the United States. An overwhelming majority of the Pacific nation's population support capital punishment.
More than 100 inmates are on death row awaiting execution. Prisoners, however, are not given advanced notice and are only told the morning of the execution.
Wei's execution is the first of its kind since the government started naming those convicted of capital punishment in 2007.
ls/sms (Reuters, AFP)