Yakuza mafia boss Satoru Nomura has been sentenced to death after he ordered a murder and attacks on three other citizens.
According to large media outlets and the court, Nomura was found guilty of ordering the fatal 1998 shooting of an ex-boss of a fisheries cooperative, a 2014 attack on a relative of the murder victim, and a 2013 knife attack against a nurse at a clinic where Nomura was seeking treatment.
The 2012 shooting of a former police officer who had investigated the Kudo-kai was also deemed Nomura’s responsibility.
The 74-year-old head of the “Kudo-kai” crime syndicate in southwest Japan, denied accusations he had masterminded the violent assaults on members of the public.
District judge Adachi Ben at the Fukuoka District Court described the actions as extremely vicious and said the attacks would not have been carried out without Nomura’s consent.
Nomura was very vocal about his sentencing. “I asked for a fair decision … You will regret this for the rest of your life,” he told the judge after the verdict was given, according to the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper.
Prosecutors reportedly argued that these horrific incidents from 1998-2014 were coordinated attacks by the Kudo-kai, with Nomura as the mastermind and his deputy, Fumio Tanoue, approving the acts through the gang’s chain-of-command structure.
Tanoue was sentenced to life in prison on Tuesday, the court said.
He denied the allegations, and according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper, told the judge: “You are awful, Mr. Adachi”, as he left the courtroom.
The court also sought a fine of 20 million yen ($182,200) on Nomura and Tanoue.
The yakuza grew 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 Chinese triads, yakuza have long occupied a grey area in Japanese society – they are not illegal, and each group has its own headquarters in full view of police.
The crime syndicate was long tolerated in Japan as a necessary evil for ensuring order on the streets and getting things done quickly, however dubious the means.
However, in recent times, stiffer anti-gang regulations, waning social tolerance and a weak economy have resulted in steadily falling yakuza memberships.