Japanese man sentenced to death for stabbing spree
Fri, Dec 18, 2009

TOKYO, Dec 18, 2009 (AFP) - A Japanese man was sentenced to death Friday for killing two people and wounding seven in knife attacks last year.

Masahiro Kanagawa, 26, stabbed to death one man and days later claimed his other victims in a knifing spree outside a shopping centre near Tokyo.

Kanagawa said he wanted to be executed for his crimes.

"The crime is evil... he killed and injured other people because he wanted to die," said Mito District Court presiding judge Shinichi Suzushima, according to a public broadcast report.

The judge said the death penalty, demanded by prosecutors, was "unavoidable" after ruling that Kanagawa was mentally fit.

The defendant had pleaded guilty to murder and other charges and told the court he welcomed the death penalty.

Kanagawa was put on the police most wanted list over the murder of a man in Tsuchiura, east of Tokyo, in March 2008.

Four days later he went on a stabbing spree outside a shopping mall, killing another man and injuring seven others. The victims were strangers to him.

Japan, which executed seven convicts this year, is the only major industrial nation other than the United States to impose the death penalty. Capital punishment is overwhelmingly supported by the public in Japan, which has one of the world's lowest crime rates.

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