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Yakuza boss becomes ‘first ever’ to be sentenced to death in Japan

Yakuza boss, Satoru Nomura, the 74-year-old leader of the “Kudo-kai” crime organization in southwest Japan, denied charges that he was behind violent assaults on members of the public.

Satoru Nomura ordered four assaults, one of which was fatal. A Japanese court has sentenced a top member of the yakuza, Japan’s mafia, to death by hanging.

On Tuesday, the Fukuoka District Court revealed that Nomura had been sentenced to death, despite the fact that there was no direct proof linking him to the killings, according to Japanese media.

“I asked for a fair decision … You will regret this for the rest of your life,” Nomura told the judge after his sentencing, according to the Nishinippon Shimbun newspaper.

Despite the absence of evidence, prosecutors were successful in arguing that Nomura’s command of the Yakuza meant he was ultimately responsible for the attacks. According to the judge, the gang functioned under such tight restrictions that it is unimaginable that they could have been carried out without Nomura’s approval.

Nomura’s conduct were described by the judge as “extremely vicious.” Over the course of 16 years, the former boss of a fishing cooperative was shot and killed, and three other individuals were injured by shooting or stabbing, including a nurse and a police officer.

In Japan, the Yakuza are not technically illegal, as each gang has its own headquarters open to the public and police. However, they are involved in nearly every type of crime, from drug trafficking and prostitution to stock market manipulation and protection rackets.

However, in recent decades, yakuza membership has steadily declined due to tighter anti-gang policies, diminishing societal tolerance, and a failing economy.

From the chaos of postwar Japan, the yakuza blossomed into multibillion-dollar criminal organizations involved in everything from drugs and prostitution to protection rackets and white-collar crime.

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