A prison fence
Representation. A prison fence. phtorxp/Pixabay


  • Miyuki Ueta had already fainted a week earlier
  • Staff at the detention center tried first aid measures but failed
  • Ueta was declared dead upon arrival at the hospital

A Japanese woman awaiting execution for the murder of two men has died in prison after choking on her food, Japan's Justice Ministry reported.

Miyuki Ueta, 49, a former bar employee who murdered a truck driver and a store owner in 2009, reportedly lost consciousness in her cell at the Hiroshima Detention House on Saturday afternoon.

Ueta died of suffocation and was confirmed dead upon arrival at the hospital, the ministry said, as per Japan Times.

The death row prisoner reportedly choked while eating a meal at around 4:20 p.m. on Saturday and fell unconscious. Hiroshima detention center staff tried first aid measures but failed to save Ueta. She was confirmed dead at around 6:55 p.m. the same day, according to the ministry.

Ueta's death sentence was finalized in 2017 after being convicted of drugging Kazumi Yabe, a 47-year-old truck driver, and drowning him in the sea in April 2009.

She also drugged and drowned 57-year-old Hideki Maruyama, an electronics store owner, in a river in October of the same year, the outlet reported. She used sleeping pills to drug the victims.

Meanwhile, Ueta maintained her innocence after she was convicted and appealed her death sentence.

The prisoner reportedly owed money to both of the victims, which the lower courts found to be Ueta's motive in the crimes. The Supreme Court then upheld the lower court rulings in 2017.

According to the justice ministry, the prisoner had been taking medication for various illnesses and had already collapsed a week earlier.

A family of one victim, Maruyama, said that he was shocked by Ueta's death.

"It's been 14 years since my father died, and I'm surprised that a Death Row inmate died in this way," Maruyama's son said, as quoted by Japanese media outlet NHK. "Since then, I think it's been taking too long for her to be executed."

The justice ministry said that they would continue to treat the inmates appropriately, the outlet reported.

Representation image: jail, prison
Representation image. Photo by Saad Chaudhry on Unsplash