Death sentence finalized for Japanese drug smuggler in China

SHENYANG, China--A court here Tuesday finalized the death sentence of a Japanese man convicted of attempting to smuggle stimulant drugs from China to Japan.

Katsuo Mori, 64, from Fukushima Prefecture, had his appeal for leniency rejected by the high people's court, the equivalent of a high court in Japan.

Under the Chinese judicial system, defendants can appeal only once.

Mori is the third Japanese national whose death sentence has been finalized in China, which is taking a hard-line stance against drug-related crimes.
According to Chinese official documents and people familiar with the case, Mori was arrested in July 2003, when he tried to take 1.25 kilograms of stimulant drugs from Dalian airport in Liaoning province, the capital of which is Shenyang.

Mori admitted most of the charges against him.
In February 2004, he was sentenced to death by a lower people's court.

Death sentences were finalized in August for two other Japanese who were also charged with attempting to smuggle stimulant drugs from China to Japan.

Their sentences have yet to be carried out.
An execution requires prior approval of the Supreme People's Court of China, which is equivalent to Japan's Supreme Court.

If one of the Japanese is executed, he will become the first Japanese criminal put to death overseas in the post-World War II period.(IHT/Asahi: October 23,2007)