Japan executes 2 more prisoners, reaching 15 for year

Two death-row inmates were hanged in Japan on Thursday, taking the number of executions in the country this year to 15 — the highest annual total since 2008.

Keizo Okamoto, 60, a former senior member of a crime syndicate, and Hiroya Suemori, 67, a former investment adviser, had been sentenced to death in 2004 for a robbery-murder.

They stole about 100 million yen ($900,800) from the president of an investment advisory company in 1988 before killing him and another employee. They then packed the bodies into concrete.

“It is an extremely brutal case in which they robbed the precious life of the victims, indeed for selfish reasons,” Justice Minister Takashi Yamashita said on Thursday.

Yamashita signed the order for their execution on Tuesday.

Conducted in secrecy

Executions are done in secret in Japan, with no advance warning given to the prisoner, their family or legal representatives, according to Amnesty International.

Prisoners often only learn of their impending execution a matter of hours before it takes place.

Capital punishment is usually reserved for those who have committed multiple murders. All executions are done by hanging.

Japan’s Code of Criminal Procedure states the death penalty should be implemented within