Yakuza leader sentenced to death

NHK -- Aug 24
A court in western Japan has sentenced the head of a notorious crime syndicate to death for killing or injuring four people.

The death sentence is believed to be the first handed down to a yakuza leader.

The Kudo-kai group, based in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, has been designated by authorities as a particularly dangerous gangster organization.

Its members shot dead a former head of a fishing cooperative and assaulted three people, including a former police officer and a nurse, with guns and knives between 1998 and 2014.

Police attempted to take down the group. They arrested its head Nomura Satoru on charges including murder.

Nomura's trial focused on whether he ordered the attacks.

Prosecutors had no direct evidence that Nomura did so, but stressed his absolute status in the organization and said he masterminded the attacks against members of the general public. They demanded that Nomura be sentenced to death.

The defendant denied involvement in the crimes.

His defense team described the prosecution's claims as groundless speculation that ignored evidence.

At the Fukuoka District Court on Tuesday, presiding judge Adachi Ben ruled that Nomura was involved in all four cases, saying the attacks could not have been carried out without his decision in the tightly controlled crime syndicate.

The judge sentenced Nomura to death, calling his actions extremely vicious.

- NHK

北九州市の特定危険指定暴力団工藤会が市民を襲撃した4つの事件で福岡地裁は24日の判決公判で、工藤会トップで総裁の野村悟被告に死刑を言い渡しました。 - ANNnewsCH