Japan executes man sentenced to death over four murders

UNTV News   •   December 26, 2019   •   952

Then Japanese Declining Birthrate, Gender Equality, Consumer Affairs and Food Safety Minister Masako Mori speaks during an official news conference at the prime minister’s official residence in Tokyo, Japan, 27 December, 2012 after being attested by Emperor Akihito. EPA-EFE FILE/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

TOKYO, JAPAN – An inmate convicted and sentenced to death in Japan over the murder of four people was executed on Thursday, the country’s justice ministry said.

In a press conference, Justice Minister Masako Mori announced the execution of Wei Wei, a Chinese national aged 40.

His death sentence was handed out in 2005 but finalized after an appeal on Nov. 10, 2011 for the murders carried out in June 2003 in the southwestern city of Fukuoka.

The four victims, members of the same family including two children, were allegedly killed by being thrown in the sea tied to weights.

The execution was ordered by Mori on Monday and carried out on Thursday in the city of Fukuoka.

In the press conference, Mori called Wei’s case “extremely savage and cruel,” recalling that the victims included a boy aged 11 and a girl aged 8, along with their parents.

She said that the decision to give the death penalty in the case had been “well-examined” during the trial.

Wei Wei was the first person to be executed in Japan since Aug. 2, also marking the 39th execution during the uninterrupted reign of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe since 2012.

Abe had also served as prime minister for a short duration between 2006 and 2007.

This was also the first execution since Mori was appointed minister of justice on Oct. 31.

On Aug. 2, two inmates who were sentenced to death over separate charges of the rape and murder of women were hanged.

A total of 15 death-row inmates were executed in 2018, including Shoko Asahara, the founder of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult that carried out a deadly Sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway in 1995.

Another 12 members of the cult were also executed, and in December 2018, two death-row inmates who were convicted over the murder of a company president and one of the firm’s employees in 1988 were hanged.

Japan is the only industrialized and democratic nation apart from the United States that carries out capital punishment, and death-row inmates are kept in solitary confinement and informed about their execution just hours before they are hanged.

The Asian country currently has 112 convicts on death row. EFE-EPA

PH, Japan reaffirm commitment to better economic ties

Robie de Guzman   •   December 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Finance (DOF) reported that the Philippines and Japan have reaffirmed their commitment to further enhance economic partnership, which includes plans to expand Japanese investments in the country.

During a recent courtesy call on Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, newly designated Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said that Japanese companies are exploring ways of realigning their supply chains to other countries like the Philippines.

Koshikawa said the approval by the Senate of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) bill was welcomed by Japanese investors doing business in the Philippines.

The measure aims to lower the corporate income tax (CIT) for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with a net taxable income of P5 million and below to 20 percent, while other companies, including foreign firms, will pay a harmonized rate of 25 percent.

The current CIT, which is the region’s highest, is 30 percent.

Dominguez, for his part, said that aside from the CIT rate cut, CREATE will also allow the government to tailor fit incentives given to businesses so as to attract the kind of investors that it wants to invest in the Philippines.

The Finance chief also told the ambassador that the Philippines’ competitive edge in attracting foreign direct investments (FDIs) is its young working population, which complements Japan’s highly skilled labor force and makes the two countries ideal “demographic partners.”

During the meeting, Koshikawa also restated Japan’s continuing support for the Philippine government’s efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, as well as its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Citing the signing in September between the two countries of the 50-billion yen Post-Disaster Standby Loan (PDSL) Phase 2, the Ambassador reaffirmed Japan’s commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in its disaster risk reduction and mitigation programs.

Since the start of the Duterte administration in July 2016, 15 loan agreements totaling JPY679.296 billion (about P313.147 billion or US$6.443 billion) have been signed by Manila with Tokyo.

Before beginning his tour of duty in Manila, Ambassador Koshikawa was a senior official at the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and had served as Japan’s Ambassador to Spain and Angola.

Japan’s Crown Prince Akishino formally declared heir to the throne

Marje Pelayo   •   November 9, 2020

TOKYO, Japan — Japan formally declared Crown Prince Akishino heir to the throne on Sunday (November 8).

Prince Akishino is Emperor Naruhito’s younger brother who has taken over the throne after his father Emperor Emeritus Akihito’s abdication in April citing health reasons, the first in two centuries.

Prime Minister Yuga Yoshihide and representatives were present at the ceremony.

Under the Japanese law, female heirs are not allowed to inherit the Chrysanthemum throne so Naruhito’s daughter 18-year-old Princess Aiko is ineligible. 

This brings Akishino, 54, next in line to the throne followed by his 14 year-old son Hisahito and Akihito’s younger brother, 84-year-old Prince Hitachi.

The ceremony was originally scheduled in April but postponed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Japanese Embassy issues advisory on visa application for eligible Filipino travelers

Marje Pelayo   •   October 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Japanese Embassy in Manila has issued an advisory on the changes in the scope of acceptance of visa applications for eligible Filipino travelers to Japan.

This is according to the advisory issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA).

The advisory emphasized the inclusion of eligible Filipino travelers under the “Phased Measures toward Resuming Cross-Border Travel”, a special quota on the entry into and departure from Japan, which covers technical intern trainees and specified skilled workers. 

“Applicants may directly visit the embassy for own visa application while students and technical intern trainees whose sending/accepting organization is same can apply through a representative with authorization letters from every applicant,” the POEA noted.

For short-term stay for business, required documents for visa application include:

  • Visa application form with attached photo
  • Passport
  • Certificate of Employment
  • Invitation letter
  • Letter of guarantee, and;
  • A written pledge. 

POEA advised applicants that the Embassy may request for additional requirements, if necessary, and it may deny visa acceptance for incomplete requirements. 

The Embassy reminded that accepting time for visa application starts at 8:40am to 11:00am, every Mondays to Fridays except on Embassy holidays, the POEA stressed.

“The embassy does not accept applications after the said accepting time,” it added.

Prior to visiting the Embassy, applicants are also advised to first contact its hotlines through the numbers 02-8834-7514 and 02-8834-7508 as the embassy is strictly implementing appointment schedule and social distancing measures as preventive measures against COVID-19.

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