Yakuza Boss Becomes First To Receive Death Sentence In Japan
The head of a powerful Yakuza mob has been sentenced to death by a Japanese court, in what is believed to be the first time a senior figure in the Japanese mafia has received the sentence.
74-year-old Nomura Satoru was found guilty of ordering four assaults, one of which saw the victim die, by a court in Fukuoko.
He denied any involvement.
The assaults, which took place between 1998 and 2014, included the fatal shooting of the former head of a fishing cooperative, as well as knife attacks on a family member of the murder victim, a nurse who had treated Nomura, and a police officer, Japan Times reports.
Prosecutors argued that while they did not have any direct evidence to connect Nomura to the attacks, as the head of the powerful Kudo-kai syndicate, he held ultimate responsibility for the group’s actions.
A judge said Nomura’s actions were ‘extremely vicious,’ before sentencing the mobster to death by hanging. He is expected to appeal his sentence, BBC News reports.
The verdict came shortly after Nomura’s second in command, Fumio Tanoue, was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the assaults.
Unlike the Italian mafia, the Yakuza is not illegal in Japan, and in the past have been been tolerated as a ‘necessary evil’ in the country. While unexpected, the decision of the judge to sentence Nomura to death comes in the context of increasing anti-gang regulations in Japan, and amid continued public support for capital punishment in the country – one of a shrinking number of developed nations to actively use the death penalty.
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