On Thursday, September 27, 2012, Japan executed two people: Eto Sachiko, 65 (image on left above), and Matsuda Yukinori, 39, (on the right under the jacket). Surnames first in this article.
Matsuda was convicted of killing two people during a robbery in 2003... but Eto... she is a very interesting case.
She was a door-to-door seller of cosmetics... a good job... an honest job... who turned to faith healing after she and her husband joined a cult in the early 1990s... and started to believe her own 'press' when people in the cult thought she had healing powers... and that's when she thought of herself as a 'god'.
As part of her healing, she began doing exorcisms to drive out evil spirits from people.
At one time, her believers - including one entire family - moved into her house.
The way she exorcised demons - at least those in the unlucky people - was by beating them with a taiko drum stick. That's a large, heavy piece of wood. For the unlucky ones, she beat at least four women and two men to death.
According to a lawyer involved in her trail: "She carried out the beatings while watching the victims die one by one. It was extremely cruel."
In July of 1995, the police discovered the rotting bodies hidden within Eto's home in Sukagawa-shi (Sukagawa City), Fukushima-ken (Fukushima Prefecture), charging her, her daughter and another cult member... though the others were sentenced to life in prison, she received the death penalty.
Eto's defence lawyers said she had 'diminished responsibility' as she was suffering mental problems at the time of the crimes.
Despite her not guilty plea, the courts ruled her crimes 'excessively grave' because she formed a religious group by claiming to be a god’s messenger and condemned her followers to death by violent means using her absolute power on them. She was given the death penalty sentence in 2002 for murder and involuntary manslaughter.
Eto's death by hanging is the first execution of a woman in Japan in 15 years.
Matsuda, of who I have written little here, was convicted of two murders and given the death penalty in September 2006.
The two hangings - always done without informing the public beforehand - were the sixth and seventh in 2012, compared with exactly zero in 2011.
According to Japan's Ministry of Justice, there are currently 131 prisoners in Japan on death row.
Here's a Japanese language news report from You Tube.
For more information on Japan's death penalty, I would suggest you read a blog I did a while back that's quite detailed with photos of the facility: DEATH'S TRAPDOOR.
As well, for a complete list of Japan's serial killers (I still need to add Eto to this list), I suggest you read this other article I wrote: THREE'S COMPANY.