Japan has hanged two convicted murderers, including one who strangled two schoolgirls with his bare hands. The latest executions bring the total number of death penalties implemented this year to 15, thought to be the highest total in many years. Last year, Japan executed nine convicted killers. Japan is one of the few countries in Asia which has stepped up its use of the death penalty, despite international condemnation. Executions are not announced beforehand and are carried out in secret, usually with strong local support. Amnesty International has called on Japan to impose an immediate moratorium on the use of the death penalty. (BBC)

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