In the country's first execution of foreigner, Japan executed a 40-year-old Chinese man convicted of murdering a family of four on December 26. The man, Wei Wei had committed murders in 2003 along with two accomplices who were also Chinese officials. The other two had fled to the mainland, and authorities executed one in 2005 while the other received a death sentence.
According to the justice ministry, Wei's execution was the 39th since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in 2012. Before 2007, the identity of the executed convict was not disclosed in the data issued on capital punishment. The Justice Minister, Masako Mori reportedly said that she ordered the execution 'after careful consideration' over the robbery and multiple murders carried out by Wei along with two others. The bodies of victims were found handcuffed and weighed down with dumbbells in a bay.
Mori also addressed the case as 'extremely cruel and brutal' in which happily living family members including an eight-year-old and 11-year-old were killed because of 'truly selfish reasons'. Wei, 40-year-old, a former language student in Japan had pleaded guilty but the trio reportedly robbed the home of Japanese businessman Shinjiro Matsumoto in the southwestern city of Fukuoka in June 2003 and then strangled him with a tie. Matsumoto's wife was drowned in a bathtub and the children were reportedly strangled or smothered. Later the four bodies were recovered from Hakata Bay in Fukuoka with handcuffs on.
Japan is one of the two Group of Seven nations that retain from death penalty along with the United States. The execution of Wei Wei is the first of its kind since the disclosure of details on sentences carried out began in 2007. Prisoners were hanged in Japan while the condemned are not told when their execution will finally take place until the morning of the day sentence is carried out. Nearly 120 prisoners are on death row. 15 were executed in 2018 in Tokoyo which is also the highest number in the decade including 13 former members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult who were convicted of carrying out sarin gas attacks on the capital's subway.