TOKYO (AP) — Japan has hanged two death row inmates in the country's first executions since March.
Japan's Justice Ministry identified the prisoners executed Friday as 40-year-old Junya Hattori and 31-year-old Kyozo Matsumura. Hattori was convicted of raping and killing a 19-year-old woman in 2002. Matsumura killed two of his relatives in 2007.
Japan is one of the few industrialized countries that have capital punishment, which is carried out by hanging. The lack of transparency in the system has been criticized by human rights groups, but capital punishment is generally supported by the public, according to opinion polls.
Japan had no executions in 2011. According to the Justice Ministry, it has 130 convicts on death row.