Beijing: China executed a convicted Japanese
drug smuggler today, making him the first Japanese citizen to
be put to death in the country since diplomatic ties were
re-established in 1972.
Mitsunobu Akano, 65, was executed in the northeastern
province of Liaoning, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting an
announcement from China`s top court, the Supreme People`s
Tokyo confirmed that Chinese officials had informed
Japanese diplomats of the execution shortly after it took
place. Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama again said the
case was "regrettable".
Akano was arrested in September 2006 at an airport in the
northeastern city of Dalian while reportedly trying to smuggle
2.5 kilograms of narcotics from China to Japan.
"The courts had clear and irrefutable evidence of drug
smuggling and the death sentence was handed down and carried
out in line with Chinese law," Xinhua quoted the announcement
It said Akano had been "treated legally".
The report said some of the drugs were in the luggage of
an accomplice but gave no other details on that person.
Officials at China`s Supreme Court did not immediately
respond to a request for comment.