Chisako Kakehi – nicknamed the Black Widow – has lost her appeal in front of the Japanese Supreme Court to overturn her death sentence. The 74-year-old has been convicted for the murder of her husband and two other men which she met via matchmaking sites. Between 2007 and 2013, Kakehi poisoned her victims in order to inherit their assets.
Her lawyers argued that Kakeshi was suffering from dementia and should not be executed, but the court decided that the mitigating circumstances were not enough to commute the sentence.
There has been no date released for Kakeshi’s execution, but the verdict can be read as more than a hollow threat. Since 2018, Japan executed 18 people, even though death sentences were not acted upon in 2020 and 2021 so far. A 2019 poll shows that almost 81 percent of Japanese support the death penalty as "necessary in some cases".
Amnesty International lists Japan as an active practitioner of the death penalty. The practice is not unusual in Asia, with China, India, Thailand and Indonesia also employing it. The death penalty is rare in Europe and the Americas – with the notable exceptions of Belarus, Guyana, Cuba and the United States. It was still more common in Africa and the Middle East. Since 1977, 108 countries have abolished the death penalty, most recently Chad, Guinea and Mongolia.