26/12/2019 15:07 GMT | Updated 27/12/2019 09:17 GMT

Japan Hangs Chinese Man In First Execution Of Foreigner For More Than A Decade

The 40-year-old had been convicted of killing a family of four in 2003.

Japan hung its first foreign prisoner in years, a 40-year-old Chinese man convicted of murdering a family of four, on Thursday. 

It is the country’s first execution of a foreigner since disclosure of details on sentences carried out began in 2007, the justice ministry said.

The man, Wei Wei, committed the murders in mid-2003 alongside two accomplices who were also Chinese nationals, media reported.

The other two fled to China where they were arrested, with one executed in China and the other handed a life sentence. 

Japan is one of just two Group of Seven advanced nations to retain the death penalty - along with the United States - and an overwhelming majority of the public favours it.


KAZUHIRO NOGI via Getty Images
Japan's justice minister Masako Mori speaks during a press conference at the ministry in Tokyo on December 26, 2019. 


Prisoners are hanged in Japan, with condemned not told when their execution will take place until the day the sentence is carried out.

Some 120 prisoners are on death row. Last year, 15 were executed - the highest number for a decade - including 13 former members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, who had been convicted of carrying out sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway.

The execution on Thursday was the 39th since prime minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in 2012, according to the justice ministry.

Before 2007, the identity of those executed was not disclosed in data issued on capital punishment.