The Tokyo High Court sentenced a 54-year-old former real estate agent to death Thursday for killing two people to hide a fraudulent land deal in 1989, overturning a lower court-imposed life sentence.

According to the high court, Kaoru Okashita and his accomplices swindled land from apartment owner Ume Endo, 83, in Tokyo’s Suginami Ward, by fabricating the sales contract, and made some 208 million yen by selling the plot between July and September 1989.

To prevent the fraud from coming to light, Okashita strangled Endo in October that year and fatally shot a 38-year-old man who was one of his accomplices.

The Tokyo District Court had sentenced Okashita to life, ruling he had not planned the murders but killed on the spur of the moment.

However, the high court ruled that the district court had misjudged the defendant’s motive, saying Endo’s slaying was premeditated to hide the land fraud, reckoning that he killed the accomplice to shift the blame on him.

Presiding Judge Tetsuya Yoshimoto said, “His antisocial and criminal tendency reached the extreme, as he killed two people in order to accomplish a perfect crime.”

Also, the defendant has not shown any remorse, so we have no choice but to sentence him to death.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.