Japanese court sentences Yakuza chief to death for ordering murder | crime news
Satoru Nomura, the 74-year-old head of the crime syndicate “Kodo Kai” in southwest Japan, denied the accusations of directing violent attacks.
A Japanese court has sentenced a Yakuza mafia boss to death after ordering murder and attacks on three other citizens.
Satoru Nomura, 74, head of the “Kodo Kai” crime syndicate in southwest Japan, has denied accusations that he masterminded the violent attacks on members of the public.
The Fukuoka District Court confirmed it had sentenced Nomura to death on Tuesday, while Japanese media said the verdict came despite the lack of evidence linking him directly to the crimes.
“You asked for a fair decision… you will regret this for the rest of your life,” Nomura was quoted by the Nichinibun Shimbun as telling the judge after sentencing him.
The Yakuza mafia in Japan has long been tolerated as a necessary evil to ensure order on the streets and get things done quickly, no matter how dubious the means.
But in recent decades, strict anti-gang regulations, declining social tolerance and a weak economy have steadily reduced the number of yakuza members.
Major media said Nomura was convicted of ordering the deadly 1998 shooting of a former fishing cooperative chief who had influence over port construction projects.
The court said he was also behind a 2014 attack on a relative of a murder victim and a 2013 knife attack on a nurse at a clinic where Nomura was seeking treatment.
The 2012 shooting of a former police officer who had investigated Kudo-kai was also held to be Nomura’s responsibility.
Media said that the official survived with serious injuries to his waist and legs.
Prosecutors reportedly argued that each of the four incidents was a coordinated attack by Kodo Kai, with Nomura as the mastermind and his deputy, Fumio Tano, agreeing to the acts through the gang’s chain of command structure.
The court said Tannoy was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday. Tanu denied the allegations.
According to the Asahi Shimbun, Tanno also told the judge, “You are appalling, Mr. Adachi,” as he left the courtroom.
The court also sought a 20 million yen ($182,200) fine for Nomura and Tanui.
The yakuza have grown from the chaos of post-war Japan into multi-billion dollar criminal organizations, involved in everything from drugs and prostitution to protection rackets and white-collar crime.
Unlike the Italian mafia or the Chinese triads, the yakuza have long occupied a gray area in Japanese society – they are not illegal, and each group has its own headquarters in full view of the police.
With more than 100 prisoners on death row, Japan is one of the few developed countries to retain the death penalty.
Public support for the death penalty remains high despite international criticism, including from rights groups.