Japan has hanged three death-row inmates, the first executions under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
The three were put to death in the early hours of Thursday, the Justice Ministry has confirmed. One of them was convicted of killing a young girl.
Japan traditionally executes several prisoners at a time. These are the first executions since September 2012.
Japan is one of the few industrialised nations to retain the death penalty, usually reserved for multiple murders.
"I ordered the executions after giving careful consideration to the matter," Justice Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said in a press briefing.
"These were extremely cruel cases in which victims were deprived of their precious lives for very selfish reasons."
The three men hanged were indentified as Kaoru Kobayashi, 44, who killed a seven-year-old girl, Masahiro Kanagawa, 29, who killed one man and injured seven others outside a Tokyo shopping mall in 2008, and Keiki Muto, 62, who killed a bar owner for money in 2002.
Rights group Amnesty International’s branch in Japan has said that it "strongly condemns" Thursday’s executions.
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