Japan on Thursday executed three death-row inmates, a justice ministry spokesman said.
"We executed three people," he said, without elaborating further.
Kyodo News, quoting the justice ministry, said that the three men who were executed ranged in age from 61 to 68 and were all convicted of murder-robbery.
Japan is the only major industrial nation other than the United States to administer the death penalty.
The executions were the first under Justice Minister Okiharu Yasuoka, who took office last month but may lose his job later this month when the ruling party chooses a new prime minister.
Yasuoka's predecessor, Kunio Hatoyama, gave the green light for a record 13 executions, leading one newspaper to call him the "grim reaper."