July 28th, 2010 Headsman
One year ago today, Japan hanged three men, among whom the most notorious was Internet suicide-club serial sex killer (you can see why he made the headlines) Hiroshi Maeue.
After a couple brushes with the law over asphyxiation-oriented assaults in the 1990s, Maeue found his medium in hypertext.
Trolling a Japanese “cyber-suicide” site — they’re notoriously popular in Japan — the late-30s Maeue lured two young women and a 14-year-old schoolgirl to separate meetings for the ostensible purpose of committing joint suicides.
M.O.: get the “partner”/victim into a car on the pretext of doing the carbon monoxide poisoning thing together, then tie her up and throttle her. Rape doesn’t seem to have been a part of it, but word was that Maeue “confessed to deriving sexual pleasure from seeing people suffocate.”
He got that treatment himself little more than two years after he was sentenced. Hanged along with Maeue in Osaka this date was Yukio Yamaji, who raped and murdered two sisters in 2005. On the same day in Tokyo, Chinese national Chen Detong got the rope for a 1999 triple homicide.
Perhaps not coincidentally, these high-profile executions occurred just weeks before national elections that were looking bad (and turned out worse) for the then-governing Liberal Democratic Party.
Update: Japan observed the one-year anniversary by hanging two more people this same date in 2010, executions personally witnessed by anti-death penalty Justice Minister.
“It made me again think deeply about the death penalty,” said Keiko Chiba. “and I once again strongly felt that there is a need for a fundamental discussion about the death penalty.”
They were the first executions under the Democratic Party government elected shortly after Maeue’s hanging.
Also on this date
- 1976: Christian Ranucci, never yet rehabilitated
- 1865: Edward William Pritchard, MD
- Unspecified Year: Tess of the d'Urbervilles
- 1540: Thomas Cromwell
- 1794: Maximilien Robespierre, Saint-Just and the Jacobin leadership