China to execute a Japanese citizen for smuggling drugs

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (ANI): Japanese citizen Mitsunobu Akano, who has been convicted of attempting to smuggle drugs from China to Japan in 2006, will be executed on Monday.

The 66-year-old Akano was arrested in September 2006 when he was meeting someone at an airport in Dalian of Liaoning, attempting to smuggle 2.5 kg of stimulant drugs to Japan.

The Consulate of Japan in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning province, has received a letter from the Chinese Government about Monday's execution, said an official from the Japanese Embassy in China.

Embassy officials have also been told that another Japanese drug trafficker would be executed after Akano, but no further details are available, the China Daily reports.

If the convict is executed, it will be the first execution by China of a Japanese national since the two countries normalized diplomatic relations in 1972, according to Japanese government sources.

In June 2008, the Dalian Intermediate People's Court handed down a death sentence on Akano. He appealed, but the sentence was finalized after the High People's Court of Liaoning upheld it in 2009.

Eiji Kato, deputy counselor-general of the Consulate of Japan in Shenyang, on Wednesday confirmed that Akano's execution had been scheduled, which he regretted.

"However, we understand that each country has the right to decide how to punish crimes according to their own situation and policy, and it is an internal issue of China," the China Daily quoted Kato, as saying.

"Yet we have been communicating with China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs because we are concerned that the execution might hurt the feelings of our people," he said.

China's Criminal Law stipulates that people trafficking more than 50 grams of heroin can be given death sentences. (ANI)

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