Nomura Satoru, the leader of a Japanese organized crime group called Kudokai, has been sentenced to death, the first of its kind for a gang leader. Fumio Tanoue, the gang’s second-in-command, was given a life sentence.
The Fukuoka District Court gave Nomura a death penalty on Tuesday as requested by the prosecution for the charges of murder and the violation of punishment of organized crimes, saying he is gravely responsible for acting as the mastermind of the crimes.
Nomura has been charged for his involvement in four criminal cases, including the killing of a former leader of a fishery cooperative (1998), shooting down a retired police officer, who was in charge of investigation on Kudokai (2012), terror attack on a nurse at a medical clinic, where Nomura received hair loss treatment (2013), and stabbing attack on a dentist (2014). Nomura claimed innocence during the trail, saying there is no direct evidence that he was involved in the incidents but the court did not accept it.
“I asked for a fair decision but this is not fair at all. You will regret this for the rest of your life,” Nomura threatened the judge following his sentencing, according to the Asahi Shimbun newspaper. “You are awful,” said Tanoue to the judge.
Kudokai, which is based in Kita-Kyushu in Fukuoka Prefecture, is notorious for their heinous crimes. It had about 520 gang members as of late last year. Unlike other organized crime groups, which refrain from committing crimes against ordinary citizens, Kudokai committed terror attacks on individuals and companies. For this reason, the Japanese police named it “specially designated dangerous crime organization” and kept a lookout. Since the introduction of Countermeasures against Organized Crime Groups in 1991, the number of Yakuza in Japan has dropped from a peak of 200,000 to under 30,000 in recent years.