CHINA COURT SENTENCES JAPANESE TO DEATH
BEIJING (Kyodo) A 61-year-old Japanese man was sentenced to death by a
district court in the Chinese city of Shenyang earlier this month on
charges of trying to smuggle 1.25 kg of stimulant drugs from China to
Japan, sources close to the case said Saturday.
The man, who has not been named, is the first Japanese to be given a
death penalty that was not suspended in China, according to Japanese
Since being sentenced on Feb. 3, the defendant has appealed to a
higher court and the hearing will take place within two months, the
sources said, adding that his execution will take place relatively
soon if the appeal court upholds the initial ruling.
The man was detained at an airport in Liaoning Province in July as he
was about to board an international flight, allegedly with drugs in
According to the sources, 11 other Japanese nationals were detained
last year in Chinese cities, including Dalian, Shanghai, Guangzhou and
Hong Kong, on charges of drug smuggling.
Most of those arrested are retirees, homeless or unemployed, and it is
believed they were working for an organized drug smuggling ring, the
The other 11 Japanese may also face severe punishment, including the
death penalty, as they have also been questioned about the smuggling
of large quantities of drugs.
Under Chinese criminal law, the production, sale and smuggling of
narcotics are considered serious crimes and those who commit offenses
involving 1 kg or more of drugs are generally sentenced to death or
life in prison.
In September 2001, China executed a South Korean man for production
and possession of 800 grams of illegal drugs.
A senior official at the Japanese Embassy in Beijing declined to
comment on individual cases, citing privacy concerns, but said embassy
officials have met with the detainees and have conveyed pleas for
leniency from their families to the Chinese authorities.
To date, no Japanese national has been executed overseas as a criminal
According to judicial sources, China sentenced a Japanese to death in
a criminal case, but that sentence was suspended for two years. Under
Chinese law, a suspended death sentence is reduced to either life in
prison or a jail term of at least 15 years after the suspension period
Some Japanese have also been given death sentences in Thailand and the
Philippines on drug-related offenses, but none have so far been
executed, the sources said.