Photo/IllutrationChisako Kakehi is given the death sentence at the Kyoto District Court on Nov. 7. (Drawing by Eri Iwasaki)

KYOTO--An elderly woman who was sentenced to death on Nov. 7 for murdering three men with cyanide said she wants to continue living and has expressed no apologies for her actions.

“I still want to be alive,” Chisako Kakehi, 70, said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun at the Kyoto detention house after the ruling. “I will appeal (to a high court). If I lose there again, I will be able to give up. I will die while smiling.”

When she made the remark, she tried to force a smile.

Kakehi was convicted of murdering her newlywed husband and two boyfriends and attempting to murder another man to gain inheritance and for other financial reasons.

In Japan, sentences are usually read at the beginning of court rulings. When death sentences are expected, however, judges describe the reasons first and read the sentences at the end.

When the judge at the Kyoto District Court listed the reasons for sentencing her to die, Kakehi’s facial expression did not change.

“I was taking a defiant stance. Since prosecutors had sought the death sentence, I had prepared myself for it,” she said.

Asked what her deceased parents would think about the ruling, she said, “They are probably angry at me, thinking, ‘What a stupid child you are!’”

The Nov. 7 interview with Kakehi was the 35th one conducted by The Asahi Shimbun since August.

She has been almost always candid when speaking about the incidents.

“I killed several people. I cannot erase the past with an eraser,” she said.

She did, however, become emotional on the topic of her two children.

“I think that I created trouble for them,” she said tearfully.

Kakehi also talked in detail about how she had fed cyanide to her elderly victims.

Previously, the reporter showed her health food capsules that were similar to the ones she used to poison the victims.

She looked at them carefully through a transparent partition board and said, “Those are what I used.”

Kakehi laced the health food capsules with cyanide and fed them to her victims. She also consumed capsules but those did not contain the poison.

“I put capsules containing cyanide in big bags and (safe) capsules in small ones. I consumed the capsules from the small ones,” she said.

Kakehi said she likes to read books but dislikes mystery novels involving death because she gets scared when she reads them.

The reporter asked her, “Didn’t you feel fear when you killed people?”

The smile disappeared from her face.

“You are bold enough to ask me such a question,” she replied and became silent.

Kakehi became acquainted with wealthy older men through marriage agencies. Asked why she did so, she answered: “In order to live. If you don’t have money, you cannot do anything.”

Through all the interviews, Kakehi has never expressed words of apology over the four men she poisoned.

Previously, the reporter cited the names of the victims and asked her, “Didn’t you feel pity when the people who loved you fell down and were suffering in front of you?”

Kakehi crossed her arms and looked at the reporter’s eyes with a serious expression.

A long silence followed. She never answered the question.