Japan hanged a male death row inmate Thursday morning, Japan's first executions in 13 months and the first under the administration of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, sources close to the cases said.
Kojiro Asakura, 66, former property assessor who had been convicted of killing five members of a family in Tokyo in 1983, was executed at the Tokyo Detention House. His death sentence was finalized in 1996 following the Supreme Court's rejection of his appeal.
Asakura was convicted of killing Akira Shirai, 45, his wife, the couple's 1-year-old son and two daughters in elementary school at family's house in Tokyo's Nerima Ward and cutting up three of the bodies in June 1983.
The real estate assessor had made a contract to resell the house and land where the family lived after he successfully bid on the property at an auction by the Tokyo District Court.
Asakura murdered the family because the Shirais did not vacate the house despite an imminent deadline for transfer of the property to a real estate agency, according to the ruling.
Defense lawyers claimed that Asakura was in a state of insanity because he was under strong pressure and asked for acquittal or leniency but the courts ruled he had normal judgment ability and should be held responsible for the brutal crime.