Tsuyoshi Tamura reports for the Asahi Shimbun:
A faith healer who beat six followers to death was hanged on Sept. 27, making her only the fourth woman to be executed in Japan since 1950, the Justice Ministry said.
Sachiko Eto, 65, was one of two convicted murderers put to death, taking to seven the number of executions carried out this year.
Eto's punishment was carried out at the Sendai Branch Detention House in northeastern Japan.
The slayings occurred during "exorcism" rituals in Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture, in 1994 and 1995. Two of the victims were male. Eto ordered the fatal beatings, which involved blows with heavy wooden sticks used for Taiko drumming, and took part in them with her followers.
Our opponents like to say that retaining the death penalty puts us in the same category as Iran, etc. That is preposterous. If you are going to classify countries by their criminal justice systems, the first-level categorization has to be on fundamental matters of due process of law. Having or not having the death penalty comes considerably lower on the classification tree.
So having due process of law, not punishing people for their religion or speech, and having the death penalty puts us in the same category as Japan. Given a choice between being categorized with Japan or, say, Italy, I'd take Japan any day.