Japan executes man sentenced to death over four murders

UNTV News   •   December 26, 2019   •   863

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

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.

Avigan clinical trials in PH may start next week – DOH

Robie de Guzman   •   October 9, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The clinical trials on anti-flu drug Avigan in the country may finally begin next week, the Department of Health (DOH) said.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said the process for the clinical trial is currently being finalized, adding that the proponent of the research has been given go signal to recruit study participants.

Vergeire said a minor issue on the insurance documents just needed to be fixed before they could begin the trial.

“Merong minor comment ang legal service namin for this insurance document. Iyon na lang but we already gave the go signal to the proponents,” she said.

“Kapag nakapag-recruit na tayo, hopefuly by next week talagang officially starting na tayo,” she added.

The clinical trial, which aims to look into the possible benefits of the Japan-made drug to coronavirus disease patients, will last for nine months. Four hospitals will participate in the trial.

It was supposed to start in August but was delayed due to some issues in legal arrangements.

Avigan tablets were delivered in early August by the Japanese government for the use of 100 patients. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Aiko Miguel)

PH begins exporting okra to Japan as new normal starts

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 1, 2020

The Department of Agriculture (DA) led the initial shipment of two tons of okra or ladyfinger to Japan on Tuesday (September 29).

Agriculture Secretary William Dar said around 300 farmers were involved in the production of the export-grade okra products that were harvested from different farms in 14 barangays of Tarlac.

Jelfarm Fresh Produce Enterprise, one of the country’s leading okra exporters, will be shipping about five tons daily as the harvest season begins and it will increase to an average of 13–15 tons everyday during peak season.

 “It’s a win-win arrangement because the farmers planting these are getting higher levels of income compared to rice,” Dar said.

Jeffrey Fernandez of Jelfarm said they are looking for alternative livelihoods for farmers who are suffering from unstable palay prices throughout the year. Fernandez said okra farmers can harvest 500 kilograms up to one ton of okra per hectare for 75 days straight and earn a net income of P80,000 – P120,000.

“It’s a fast turnaround crop, high-yielding crop, and a good source of income for the farmers,” he said. AAC

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