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Death sentence for Yakuza crime boss after ordering citizen murders

A Japanese court has sentenced a Yakuza Mafia boss to death after he apparently ordered a murder and attacks on 3 citizens.

74-year-old Satoru Nomura, head of the ‘Kudo-kai’ Yakuza in southern Japan, was tried at The Fukuoka District Court.

The court confirmed it’s sentencing of death for Nomura, though he denied his involvement in the attacks. The Japanese media have also said the verdict came without enough evidence to link him.

Image: Behrouz Mehri

According to Nishinippon Shimbun, Nomura threatened the judge, “I asked for a fair decision, but this is not fair at all. You will regret this for the rest of your life.”

This is the first time a death sentence has been given to a Yakuza boss.

Nomura’s second-in-command Fumio Tanoue, 65, was handed a life sentence.

The crimes Nomura and Tanoue were prosecuted for stretch back to 1998, when a leader of a local fishery cooperative was shot dead in the street.

Believed to have originated in the 17th century, the yakuza have grown into multi-billion-dollar criminal organisations, with involvement in everything from drugs and prostitution to protection rackets and white-collar crime.

Unlike the Mafia or triads, the yakuza are not illegal and each group has its headquarters in full view of police.

Their ability to operate quasi-legally comes down to a strict code of honour, which prevents them from disrupting public order. However, in this instance, patience appears to be weaning as the yakuza’s acts of violence struggle to meet justification.

The yakuza have been long been tolerated, seen as a “necessary evil” to keep balance on the streets of Japan.

But more recently, stricter regulations and diminishing tolerance have seen their member numbers drop and more accountability held to the yakuza.

Today their member count sits close to 100,000.

Capitol punishment is still widely accepted in Japan today, despite criticism from the international community and human rights groups.

Whether or not this recent court decision will subdue or ignite a new fire within the yakuza is uncertain. However, after Nomura’s threat, we would hate to be that judge right now.