The Shimonoseki Station massacre took place
on September 29, 1999 when Yasuaki Uwabe, then aged 35, drove a car
into the station. Exiting the car, he proceeded to stab passers-by at
random until apprehended at the scene. As a result of his actions,
five people were killed and 10 others were injured; Uwabe was arrested
at the scene.
On September 29, 1999 at around 4:25 pm, Uwabe, who
was still working in the transportation industry, drove a rented car
into the east entrance of Shimonoseki Station. Driving through the
first platform floor, Uwabe hit at least seven people, two of whom
died at the scene. As the car got stuck, Uwabe got out of the car and
progressed up to the second platform on the second floor, brandishing
a knife. After using the knife to stab a further seven people, Uwabe
was overpowered by local police and arrested at the scene.
Yasuaki Uwabe (Japanese: 上部康明) was born in
Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi. After graduating from Kyushu University in
1989, Uwabe left one job in 1991 and another, at an architectural
firm, due to his social phobias.
Uwabe married in 1993 and opened his own
architectural firm, but quit in 1997 due to his phobias. As he ran out
of money, he received a loan to buy a truck and began work in the
delivery service industry. At the same time he began to isolate
himself. He got a divorce in June 1999.
On September 24 the same year, his truck was lost
in a flood due to a typhoon, and his loan was recalled. He asked his
parents to pay for the loan but they refused. Looking back on his
early life, Uwabe described how, after graduating as a first class
architect from a national university of Japan he found it hard to open
his own design office and began to blame his parents and society for
his frustration. He says he was also motivated by another crime three
weeks earlier when a 23-year-old man stabbed eight people (and killing
two) in Ikebukuro.
After his arrest, Uwabe said that "No matter what
[he] did, it never turned out well, which made [him] bitter toward
society". He also stated that he decided to use a car in order to
"kill more people". He was judged by the Yamaguchi District Court and
was found guilty of all charges and sentenced to death. He was
executed by hanging on March 29, 2012.
Japan executes three multiple murderers
March 20, 2012
Japan yesterday resumed its use of capital
punishment after a 20-month break, with an unapologetic government
minister signing death warrants for three multiple murderers.
The convicts went to the gallows on the orders of
Japanese Minister of Justice Toshio Ogawa, who said he was performing
his job and acting in line with public opinion, which overwhelmingly
supports the death penalty.
“Today, three executions were carried out,” Ogawa
said of the hangings, the first in Japan since July 2010. “I have
carried out my duty as a justice minister as stipulated by law.”
Apart from the US, Japan is the only major
industrialized democracy to carry out capital punishment, a practice
that has led to repeated protests from European governments and human
Amnesty International condemned the executions and
said it would write to Ogawa and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko
Noda to protest.
The Japan Federation of Bar Associations also
protested, reiterating its calls for the abolition of the death
penalty, saying it goes against global trends.
Japan did not execute anybody last year, the first
year in nearly two decades the country did not carry out a single
death sentence amid a muted debate on the rights and wrongs of the
International advocacy groups have denounced the
Japanese system, under which death row inmates can wait for their
executions for many years in solitary confinement and are only told of
their impending death a few hours ahead of time.
The wait can become decades, because the wheels of
Japanese justice turn notoriously slowly.
Ogawa was unrepentant for his order, citing the
legal requirement for execution and demand from the public, who in
polls have shown 85 percent support for capital punishment.
“Punishments for crimes are decided by the public,”
he said, referring to Japan’s long-standing policy of using capital
The three inmates put to death yesterday were all
multiple murderers, whose violence in low-crime Japan shocked the
Yasuaki Uwabe, 48, drove a car into a train station
in Kyushu in a planned random killing, hitting several people before
running onto the platform with an 18cm knife. He killed five people
and injured 10.
Tomoyuki Furusawa, 46, whose wife was hiding at her
parents’ home in Yokohama to escape his abuse as she filed for
divorce, killed her elderly parents and her 12-year-old son in 2002
before abducting and assaulting her.
Yasutoshi Matsuda, 44, killed two women in southern
Miyazaki Prefecture in 2001.
The most recent executions in Japan before
yesterday were in July 2010, when then-minister of justice Keiko Chiba
approved the hanging of two inmates, despite her long-standing
opposition to the death penalty.
In an unusual move, Chiba attended the executions
and later allowed the media to visit the execution chamber at the
Tokyo Detention House in a move designed to increase public debate
over the death penalty.
Under Chiba, the Japanese Ministry of Justice began
looking into whether capital punishment should continue. However, the
review ended inconclusively this year under Ogawa.
Ogawa said that following the executions, 132
people remained on death row.
Top court upholds death for man convicted of
killing 5 in train station rampage
Friday 11th July, 2008
The Supreme Court on Friday upheld the death
penalty given to a man who was convicted of killing five people and
injuring 10 others in a 1999 rampage at JR Shimonoseki Station in
Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan. The top court’s second petty
bench turned down an appeal filed by the defendant Yasuaki Uwabe, 44.
In Friday’s decision, Justice Isao Imai rejected
the defense counsel’s argument that the defendant was insane at the
time of the rampage. ‘‘The defendant, under thorough preparations and
a firm will to kill, staged an indiscriminate attack on innocent
people at the station that is extremely atrocious,” the judge said.
Uwabe took 120 sleeping pills and drove a rental car into the railway
station on Sept 29, 1999, running over seven people. He then attacked
eight other people there with an 18-centimeter kitchen knife. Five of
the 15 died.
Killer of 5 gets death penalty, insanity plea
Japan Weekly Monitor
September 20, 2002
A district court sentenced a man to death on Friday
for murdering five people and injuring 10 others in a 1999 rampage at
JR Shimonoseki Station in Yamaguchi Prefecture, western Japan,
dismissing an insanity plea by the defense.
Yasuaki Uwabe, 38, was found guilty of murder by
the Shimonoseki Branch of the Yamaguchi District Court, which
dismissed his defense team's contention that he was not criminally
liable as he was not mentally competent at the time of the crime on
Sept. 29, 1999.
During the trial, two psychiatric reports on
whether Uwabe was criminally responsible for his actions were
submitted. Uwabe had said he carried out the attack ''on God's
orders'' and as ''revenge on humankind.''
The first psychiatric report, supported by the
defense, said he was in a state of diminished responsibility.
The court adopted the second report, which said
that although he suffers from a personality disorder, he was
The prosecutors had demanded the death penalty,
saying Uwabe was responsible for his actions.
Presiding Judge Masao Namiki said, ''The act was
intentional and was one of the most savage crimes in criminal history.
There are no extenuating circumstances.''
According to the ruling, Uwabe crashed a rented car
into JR Shimonoseki Station building at around 4:25 p.m. on Sept. 29,
1999 after taking 120 sleeping pills.
He hit seven people on the road outside with the
car and then ran into the station and attacked eight people with a
Three people died immediately and two others
Of the two, the defense argued the cause of death
of a 45-year-old woman who died in November 1999 was a chronic illness
she had. The defense claimed the charge should be attempted murder but
the court also dismissed this claim.