Mainichi Daily News
27 sentenced to death in Japan in 2008
Twenty-seven people were sentenced to the death penalty during 2008, down by 19 from last year, a Mainichi Shimbun survey has found.
The decrease apparently reflects a drop in the number of vicious crimes, although the tendency for courts to impose heavy sentences on those who commit these kinds of crimes remains unchanged, with the death penalty being handed down to a defendant who was convicted of murdering one person, and another found guilty of committing murder as a teenager.
Of the 27, five were sentenced by district courts and 14 by high courts, while the eight others saw their death sentences confirmed by the Supreme Court.
The 27 include a man who was convicted by the Hiroshima High Court to murdering a woman and her daughter in Hikari, Yamaguchi Prefecture, in 1999 when he was 18; and Tetsuya Shiroo, convicted by the Nagasaki District Court of fatally shooting Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito in 2007.
In 2007, a death sentence was handed down on 46 people, the largest number since 1980. No figures are available before that year.