group leader sentenced to death in Japan

One of the bosses of the Yakuza criminal group was sentenced to death by a court in Fukuoka, Japan. Nomura Satoru, 74, was found guilty of four assaults that resulted in one death.

According to local media, the conviction came even without direct evidence against Nomura, who denied any involvement in the attacks.

“I asked for a fair decision. You will regret this for the rest of your life,” Nomura told the judge after being sentenced to death yesterday, according to Japanese newspaper Nishinippon Shimbun.

Nomura, who heads the Kudo-kai union that operates in southwest Japan, can still appeal the decision. The “number two” of the union,
Fumio Tanoue, 65, was sentenced to life in prison.

The judge Ben Adachi described his actions as “extremely cruel” and believes the attacks were ordered by the defendant.

To get the conviction, prosecutors argued that the absolute command of Nomura about the group meant he had responsibility for the cases.

The attacks took place within six years. According to the newspaper “Nikkei Asia”, the charges were for the death of a former head of a fishing cooperative in 1998, a shooting attack against a former police inspector from Fukuoka in 2012, and also for the assault of a nurse , in 2013, and a dentist, in 2014.

This is believed to be the first death sentence for the head of a designated criminal group. “The police conducted a thorough investigation and exposed the involvement of key leaders,” said a prosecutor involved in the trial. “This will set a good precedent for future investigations by an organized criminal group.”

The Yakuza is a group popularly known as “the Japanese mafia” and is not considered illegal in the country, although their activities are linked to extortion, trafficking, money laundering and they often operate shell companies in smart offices.