Japanese Court Sentences Yakuza Boss to Death
After the sentencing, Yakuza boss Satoru Nomura told the judge: ‘You will regret this for the rest of your life.’
FUKUOKA, JAPAN — A Japanese court delivered a major blow to the yakuza when it sentenced to death the boss of one of the yakuza’s most violent syndicates.
The case comes after multiple murders and vicious attacks against ordinary civilians over the last few decades, including the stabbing of a nurse who worked at a clinic where the crime boss was being treated. Here are the details:
The BBC reports that a Japanese court sentenced a yakuza boss to death on Tuesday, August 24, for ordering murders and attacks against ordinary Japanese citizens.
Satoru Nomura, the 74-year-old head of the Kudo-kai crime syndicate in southwest Japan, denied accusations he had masterminded the violent assaults on ordinary people.
The Fukuoka District Court sentenced Nomura to death by hanging, while Japanese media said the verdict came despite a lack of evidence directly linking him to the crimes.
Although prosecutors had no direct evidence Nomura had ordered violent attacks, they successfully argued that his absolute command over the group meant he had ultimate responsibility.
After the sentencing, Nomura reportedly told the judge: “You will regret this for the rest of your life.”
Nomura’s number two, Fumio Tanoue, was jailed for life on Tuesday. Nomura was found guilty of ordering the fatal 1998 shooting of an ex-boss of a fisheries cooperative who exerted influence over port construction projects, major media outlets said.
He was also judged to be behind a 2014 attack on a relative of that murder victim, and a 2013 knife attack against a nurse at a clinic where Nomura was seeking treatment, the court reportedly said.
The 2012 shooting of a former police official who had investigated the Kudo-kai was also deemed Nomura's responsibility. The official survived with serious injuries to his waist and legs.
The yakuza were long tolerated in Japan as a necessary evil for ensuring order on the streets and getting things done quickly, however dubious the means. But in recent decades, stiffer anti-gang regulations, waning social tolerance and a weak economy have resulted in steadily falling yakuza memberships.
The yakuza grew from the chaos of postwar Japan into multi-billion-dollar criminal organizations, involved in everything from drugs and prostitution to protection rackets and stock-market manipulation.
Unlike the Italian Mafia, 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. They also frequently operate front companies out of upmarket offices.
It is believed to be the first time a senior member of Japan's mafia, the yakuza, has been sentenced to death. Sentencing Nomura on Tuesday, the judge described his actions as extremely vicious.
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