A MALAYSIAN court sentenced a Japanese woman to death today for smuggling methamphetamine into the country, a court official said.

A high court in Shah Alam near the capital Kuala Lumpur found Mariko Takeuchi guilty of drug trafficking, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorised to make public statements.

Drug smuggling carries the mandatory death penalty by hanging in Malaysia.

Takeuchi, a 36-year-old former nurse, was arrested in October last year at Kuala Lumpur International Airport after arriving from Dubai with 3.5kg of the drug.

Takeuchi has testified that she was duped by a man into carrying a bag containing the methamphetamine but did not know the drugs were inside.

As of earlier this year, Malaysia had nearly 700 prisoners, mostly men, on death row. More than two-thirds of those involved drug offences.