China has executed three convicted Japanese drug smugglers, just days after another Japanese citizen was put to death for the same offence, state media reports.
The Xinhua news agency, which cited an announcement from China’s supreme court, gave no further details.
Japanese press reports have identified the men as Teruo Takeda, Hironori Ukai and Katsuo Mori.
On Tuesday, China executed 65-year-old Mitsunobu Akano – the first Japanese citizen to be put to death in the country since diplomatic ties were re-established in 1972.
Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama called Akano’s case “regrettable”, but both sides said they hoped relations would not be affected.
Japan also uses capital punishment, usually in cases involving multiple homicides.
Last week, rights group Amnesty International called on Beijing to say publicly how many people it puts to death each year, saying the figure was likely in the “thousands” and more than the rest of the world combined.
Such data is not released by China, where it is considered a state secret.
In December, China executed Briton Akmal Shaikh, a 53-year-old father-of-three convicted of drug smuggling. Supporters said he was mentally ill and London repeatedly urged Beijing to grant clemency.
China has slowly been reforming its death penalty system after acknowledging several miscarriages of justice.
At the beginning of 2007, the Supreme People’s Court began reviewing every death penalty case rather than allowing lower courts to issue the final judgement – a move that China says has led to fewer executions.