Japan hung its first foreign prisoner in years, a 40-year-old Chinese man convicted of murdering a family of four, on Thursday.
It is the country’s first execution of a foreigner since disclosure of details on sentences carried out began in 2007, the justice ministry said.
The man, Wei Wei, committed the murders in mid-2003 alongside two accomplices who were also Chinese nationals, media reported.
The other two fled to China where they were arrested, with one executed in China and the other handed a life sentence.
Japan is one of just two Group of Seven advanced nations to retain the death penalty – along with the United States – and an overwhelming majority of the public favours it.
Prisoners are hanged in Japan, with condemned not told when their execution will take place until the day the sentence is carried out.
Some 120 prisoners are on death row. Last year, 15 were executed – the highest number for a decade – including 13 former members of the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, who had been convicted of carrying out sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway.
The execution on Thursday was the 39th since prime minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in 2012, according to the justice ministry.
Before 2007, the identity of those executed was not disclosed in data issued on capital punishment.