• Kyodo

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Mamoru Takuma, convicted of murdering eight children in an elementary school in Osaka Prefecture in 2001, on Friday withdrew an appeal filed by his lawyers against the death sentence he was handed last month by the Osaka District Court.

The move means Takuma’s death sentence is now final. It is rare in Japan for a death sentence to be finalized without going through a high court.

On Aug. 28, the Osaka court sentenced Takuma to death, finding him mentally competent to take responsibility for the slaughter at Osaka Kyoiku University Ikeda Elementary School in Ikeda, Osaka Prefecture, on June 8, 2001.

Earlier this month, Takuma’s lawyers appealed the court decision, saying the case had not been fully deliberated in the district court proceedings.

Takuma, however, had told his lawyers that he would rather be quickly executed. He told his defense team that if it filed an appeal, he would withdraw it.

The defense team has held a series of meetings with Takuma since the ruling in a bid to persuade him to appeal.

Hirokazu Hasegawa, a clinical psychotherapist and professor at Tokai Women’s College, also met with Takuma to try to make him change his mind, the lawyers said.

The Criminal Procedure Law allows the lawyer of a convict to appeal a verdict independent of the client. But the lawyer cannot overrule any intention clearly stated by the accused.

On Friday, a written request by Takuma asking for the appeal to be withdrawn was delivered to the Osaka High Court via the Osaka Detention House.

A similar situation occurred in 1998, when the Gifu District Court sentenced a man to hang for murdering a family of three in 1994.

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