• Kyodo

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A Chinese court sentenced a 27-year-old man to death Thursday for killing a Japanese man in Japan in 2004, but the sentence was suspended for two years.

The court in Shenyang, in northeastern China, sentenced Zhou Bo in the fatal stabbing of Masahiko Sato in Fukuoka in May 2004, an official at the Japanese Consulate in the city said.

The suspended sentence means Zhou will probably not be executed. Suspended death sentences are often commuted to prison terms after the suspension period ends.

Zhou, who was said to have confessed to the murder, accepted the ruling and will not appeal, the official said.

Sato, a 44-year-old businessman, was killed at a beauty clinic that Zhou planned to rob. Zhou later fled to China but was arrested by local authorities in March.

Last month, Sato’s father, Yasuhiko, 71, asked the judge trying the case at Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court not to put Zhou to death.

“I will not feel better even if the defendant is given capital punishment. I don’t want the defendant’s family to experience the same feeling that I have,” he said in an interview.

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