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Three death row inmates were hanged Thursday, and for the first time in recent history, the Justice Ministry officially announced the executions shortly afterward.

The executions were announced to the media shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday. The ministry released a paper that simply said it “executed three death row convicts today.”

The ministry did not release the names of the inmates or disclose where the hangings took place. But informed sources said Masamichi Ida, 56, and Tatsuaki Nishio, 61, were hanged at the Nagoya Detention House and Akira Tsuda, 59, at the Hiroshima Detention House.

Thursday’s executions are the second hangings this year. The last executions, of three inmates at the Tokyo and Fukuoka Detention houses, were carried out June 25.

Thursday’s hangings were the first carried out under Justice Minister Shozaburo Nakamura, who took office in July.

The executions came only 15 days after Nakamura said in a news conference that the ministry will publicly announce the dates and number of executions after they are carried out.

Previously, the ministry refused to disclose any information about hangings — except for the annual total of executions — due to what it claims is consideration for the feelings of the inmates and their relatives.

Tsuda’s death sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court in June 1991 for a 1984 kidnapping and murder of a third-year elementary school boy. He strangled the boy in a car and dumped the body in a forest in Hiroshima Prefecture. He also was convicted of having demanded 10 million yen in ransom from the boy’s parents and of robbing 150,000 yen and a bank card from them, according to court records.

Nishio’s death sentence was finalized by the Supreme Court in 1989 for a murder to obtain insurance money involving a Nagoya construction firm.

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