Japan: Top court upholds death penalty for man over Osaka fatal arson

march 7, 2014

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld lower court rulings that sentenced a man to death for killing 16 people by setting fire to a video-viewing parlor in Osaka in 2008 in a failed suicide attempt.

The highest court’s 5-justice first petty bench led by Justice Tomoyuki Yokota turned down an appeal filed by Kazuhiro Ogawa, 52, against decisions by the Osaka district court in 2009 and high court in 2011.

Ogawa had pleaded not guilty, and denied setting fire to the parlor.

Justice Yokota said the accused “committed an extremely selfish crime” and the death penalty is unavoidable as Ogawa “has not sincerely reflected on” his conduct. The arson “caused major shock and anxiety to society,” Yokota added.

According to the lower court rulings, Ogawa set fire to a room at a video-viewing parlor in Osaka’s Naniwa Ward at around 3 a.m. on Oct. 1, 2008, in a bid to commit suicide.

The fire destroyed the store completely, killed 16 customers and injured 4 others.

(source: Mainichi News)

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