A senior member of the Japanese Yakuza criminal syndicate has been sentenced to death by hanging.
A court in Fukuoka found Satoru Nomura, 74, the head of the Kudo-kai in Kita-Kyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture, had ordered four assaults, one of which resulted in death. Nomura denied any involvement.
The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reports that judge Ben Adachi also sentenced to Nomura’s second-in-command, Fumio Tanoue, 65, to life.
Nomura reportedly threatened the judge saying, “I asked for a fair decision but this is not fair at all. You will regret this for the rest of your life.”
The Japanese don plans to appeal against the sentence.
Japan sentences powerful Yakuza criminal syndicate to death by hanging
The court ruling said Nomura and Tanoue, “conspired to carry out four attacks”. Nomura, “gave an order in the murder case and the other three crimes were carried out under a chain-in-command structure”.
Those who carried out the attacks have already been convicted, local reports said.
The first of the four assaults occurred in 1998, the Asahi Shimbun reports: “A former leader of a local fishery cooperative was shot on the streets of Kita-Kyushu. The second occurred in 2012 – a former Fukuoka prefectural police officer was shot in Kita-Kyushu. The third occurred in 2013 in Fukuoka, in which a female nurse at a clinic where Nomura was seeking treatment was stabbed.
“The fourth took place in 2014, in which a male dentist, who happened to be a relative of the former fishery cooperative leader, was stabbed in Kita-Kyushu.”
The judge described Nomura’s actions as “extremely vicious”.
The prosecutors argued Nomura, “deserved the harshest sentence because none of the victims in the four incidents had connections to rival gangs”. They said: “Ordinary citizens became a target in all of the incidents, repeatedly posing a direct threat to society.
“These incidents were unprecedented in the extremely egregious nature of the crimes carried out by organised gangs.”
The defence, however, argued Nomura, “had no motivation to attack,” in any of the four cases and he told the court: “I am innocent.”
Yakuza membership is not illegal in Japan and Yakuza-owned businesses and gang headquarters are often clearly marked.