Japanese man executed in China over drug smuggling


China has executed a Japanese man in his 50s who had been sentenced to death in connection with stimulant drug smuggling.

In Tokyo, Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida said China notified Japan that the execution took place Friday morning.

The man was sentenced to death in December 2012 and the ruling became final in August last year, Japanese officials said, adding that he had met with his family on Thursday.

According to the officials the man, whose identity was not released, was the fifth Japanese to have been executed in China since Tokyo and Beijing normalized diplomatic relations in 1972.

Kishida told a news conference in Tokyo that while it is up to China to decide what kind of penalty should be imposed on criminals, “We have conveyed to the Chinese side that we have taken a heightened interest in the death penalty handed down to Japanese nationals.”

In China, the smuggling of 50 grams or more of narcotics is an offense punishable by death. In 2010, four Japanese were executed in China for stimulant drug smuggling.

Amnesty International estimates that China executed thousands of people in 2013, more than any other country in the world. China does not disclose how many executions it carries out each year.

A court in Dalian, in northeastern China, conveyed the information on the latest execution to the Japanese consular office in the city, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.