Japan is one of the few developed nations left that still have the death penalty in place. Last year, the country hanged three people, and there are currently a little over 100 people on death row. Now, this all matters because in 2008, Tomohiro Kato, who was 25 years old at the time, drove a truck into a lunchtime crowd in the bustling Tokyo district of Akihabara and killed three people, an act that he documented online. He then went on to stab pedestrians, killing four people and injuring eight others. He was arrested at the scene.
During his trial, Kato admitted to the murders, saying that online bullying motivated him. He also reportedly expressed remorse while awaiting trial. Even though Kato was born into a wealthy family and graduated from a top high school, he failed his university entrance exams and found it difficult to keep a job. Prosecutors on his case also said that Kato’s confidence was pretty hurt after a woman he met online stopped contacting him. Now, eight years after Kato was sentenced to death, the Japanese government confirmed that he had been hanged, but they clarified it had nothing to do with Shinzo Abe’s recent shooting.
“The case has been fully tried in the courts and the courts’ final conclusion was the death sentence … I have taken the greatest care possible in considering this case," Justice Minister Yoshihisa Furukawa said at a press conference.
“I came to Akihabara to kill people. It didn’t matter who I’d kill," Kato told police when he was arrested.
The victims “were enjoying their lives, and they had dreams, bright futures, warm families, lovers, friends and colleagues," Kato reportedly wrote in a letter to a taxi driver expressing his remorse when he was awaiting trial, according to a copy published in the Shukan Asahi weekly magazine.