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 Nagasaki mayor is shot dead by gangster
GangstersInc
Posted: Apr 18 2007, 03:07 AM


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Nagasaki city mayor is shot dead
The mayor of the Japanese city of Nagasaki has died several hours after being shot, police said.
Itcho Ito, 61, was shot at least twice in the back in the centre of the city just before 2000 (1100 GMT) on Tuesday, and died in hospital on Wednesday.

Police said they had arrested a man, who was allegedly a member of one of Japan's leading organised crime groups.

Japanese media said the murder appeared to be linked to an alleged controversy over public works contracts.

Mr Ito was campaigning for re-election to a fourth term as mayor of Nagasaki, 980km (610 miles) south-west of Tokyo on the island of Kyushu.

Police identified the suspect as Tetsuya Shiroo, who was arrested on the spot.

Television pictures showed police struggling with Mr Shiroo and pushing him into a police car.

Paramedics treated Mr Ito on the ground outside a train station in the centre of Nagasaki before he was taken to hospital in an ambulance.

Doctors worked for several hours to keep him alive but he died at 0228 (1728 GMT on Tuesday).

One of the bullets had reached his heart, hospital officials said.


Gangster who shot dead Nagasaki mayor sent letters to TV Asahi criticizing him

A gangster arrested after fatally shooting Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito had sent letters to TV Asahi criticizing the mayor, officials at the broadcaster said.

The network reported the details of the letters in its news program, "Hodo Station," aired Tuesday night.

The letters, sent on April 15 and bearing the Nagasaki Central Post Office postmark, were delivered to TV Asahi on Tuesday. Several cassette tapes were enclosed.

"I, Tetsuya Shiroo, hereby write the truth, and take responsibility for what I do. I can't forgive Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito because I can't tolerate wrongdoing for the sake of city residents and prefectural residents," the letter partly reads.

"There was a breach of promise over the work to dismantle the Unzen Hot Spa Center. (The municipal government) offered to give me 1 million yen as an apology, but I haven't received the money," he wrote, suggesting that he was in a dispute with the municipal government over a public works contract.

He also touched on an accident in which his car was damaged on a municipal road where repair work was underway several years ago. "The accident wasn't reported to top officials of the municipal government. The incident was treated as if I had trumped up the accident."

Police said they want the letters. "Since they may offer a clue to the motives for the crime, we'd like to ask the broadcaster to voluntarily submit them or we will confiscate them," a police official said.

TV Asahi suggests it will cooperate with police in their investigations into the shooting incident. "We'll consider a response as soon as we receive a formal request from police authorities." (Mainichi)



Nagasaki mayor dies after being shot twice
04/18/2007

The Asahi Shimbun


NAGASAKI--Nagasaki Mayor Iccho Itoh, a high-profile promoter of world peace, died early Wednesday after being shot in the back by a gangster harboring a grudge over a traffic accident, police said.

The 61-year-old mayor was pronounced dead at 2:28 a.m. at the Nagasaki University Hospital from massive blood loss due to two bullets that had reached his heart, police said.

Tetsuya Shiroo, 59, a senior member of a yakuza organization affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi, the nation's largest crime syndicate, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder immediately after the shooting Tuesday night. Police are now investigating the case as a murder.

Although Shiroo ranked high in the hierarchy of his crime group, police said they believe the attack was carried out on a personal level and was not organized by any yakuza organization, police said. Nagasaki prefectural police searched five locations, including Shiroo's home and his office, early Wednesday morning.

Itoh, who was running for his fourth term in Sunday's mayoral election, was shot twice from behind at close range at around 7:50 p.m. Tuesday in front of his campaign office near JR Nagasaki Station.

According to hospital officials, the bullets entered his body from the right side of the backbone, sliced his heart and were stopped at the breast bones.

Itoh was already in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest when he was taken to the hospital just after 8 p.m.

"It is possible that he was shot from point-blank range," said Kiyoyuki Eishi, a cardiovascular surgery professor at the hospital who was in charge of the operation.

"It was difficult to confirm the damaged sections and to stop the bleeding," he said. "We did our best. It is unfortunate."

Police quoted Shiroo, who has admitted he intended to kill Itoh, as saying, "I thought I would kill myself after shooting the mayor."

He also told investigators he held a personal grudge against the city government over a February 2003 accident in which his car fell into a ditch near city-ordered construction work of a sidewalk.

Shiroo said he was dissatisfied with the city's handling of the matter because officials did not respond to his requests to negotiate compensation for his damaged vehicle, according to police.

Police also quoted Shiroo as saying he had had other problems with the city.

Nagasaki city officials described Shiroo's compensation demands as more of a gangster shakedown.

They said he initially demanded 600,000 yen ($5,053) to repair the damaged fender of his car.

His demands soon escalated to more than 2 million yen ($16,843) to fix other parts of the vehicle, they said.

The city refused to pay.

Itoh, as mayor of the second city to experience the horrors of nuclear warfare, had traveled abroad to promote nuclear disarmament.

He was a front-runner in Sunday's election against a candidate fielded by the Japanese Communist Party and two independent newcomers.

The city election board said Wednesday it will accept applications for candidates to take Itoh's place in the election by 5 p.m. Thursday.

Itoh, an independent, was running without an endorsement from political parties.

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party, the main opposition party, Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), and other parties are planning to field a candidate in the race.

Ballots cast for Itoh through early voting procedures will be nullified.

In January 1990, Itoh's predecessor, Hitoshi Motoshima, was shot in front of Nagasaki city hall by a right-winger who was upset with Motoshima's comment that Emperor Hirohito, posthumously known as Emperor Showa, was responsible for the war.

Motoshima recovered and ran for his fifth term in 1995, but lost to Itoh. (IHT/Asahi: April 18,2007)


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Hollander
Posted: Apr 25 2007, 07:25 AM


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Abe furious over claimed link to Nagasaki mayor's accused killer

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is furious about a weekly magazine story that suggests one of his secretaries has a link to a gang of which the killer of former Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito is a member.

"I would resign as prime minister and as a member of the House of Representatives if I, or a secretary to me, had a link to the culprit or the crime syndicate," Abe told reporters. "It's unthinkable even if they (the magazine) have a grudge against me and want to overthrow my Cabinet. It's like a terrorist attack by the press."

Shukan Asahi carried a story in its latest issue that suggests a secretary to him has a link to a gang to which the killer of the Nagasaki mayor belongs.

The yakuza shot then Nagasaki Mayor Ito on April 17 as he returned to his election campaign office during the mayoral race. He died the following day. (Mainichi)
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Hollander
Posted: May 19 2007, 06:36 AM


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Prosecutors drop case against accused accomplices in shooting of Nagasaki major

NAGASAKI -- The Nagasaki District Public Prosecutors Office has decided not to lay charges against two suspects accused of helping a gangster to gun down former Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito, because of difficulties in proving their involvement, it has emerged.

The suspects, Hiromi Ogawa, 60, and Masaki Yamashita, 29, were arrested on suspicion of aiding gangster Tetsuya Shiroo in Ito's murder, but both suspects denied the allegations against them, saying they didn't know Shiroo was going to shoot the mayor.

When questioned over the killing, 59-year-old Shiroo reportedly told public prosecutors, "On the day of the crime, I didn't tell the other two that I was going to shoot anybody." Ogawa and Yamashita also told police that they didn't know Shiroo was carrying a gun. Because of this, prosecutors judged that it would be difficult to form a case against them.

Investigators said there were some discrepancies between the testimonies of Shiroo and the other two suspects, but in the end prosecutors decided it would be difficult to uphold the claims against the suspects in court.

On April 17, the day of the killing, Ogawa dropped Shiroo off in front of Ito's election campaign office in Nagasaki. Yamashita, meanwhile, kept watch over another support office and kept in contact with Shiroo to inform him where the mayor was. Because of these factors, prefectural police suspected that that Ogawa and Yamashita knew that Shiroo was planning to gun down the mayor, prompting them to arrest the two on suspicion of helping the gangster to commit murder. (Mainichi)

Click here for the original Japanese story
May 19, 2007

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Hollander
Posted: Jan 22 2008, 05:16 AM


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Ex-yakuza pleads guilty to shooting Nagasaki mayor to death

Tetsuya ShirooNAGASAKI -- A former yakuza pleaded guilty Tuesday to shooting then Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito to death in April last year during his election campaign in which he was seeking a fourth term.

"What is written in the indictment is true. I apologize from the bottom of my heart," Tetsuya Shiroo, 60, a former high-ranking member of a crime syndicate, said in his first hearing at the Nagasaki District Court on Tuesday. "I'll accept any ruling sincerely and serve my prison term. I pray everyday for the soul of Mr. Ito."

Since Shiroo has claimed that he harbored murderous intent shortly before the incident, the focal point during his trial is whether his crime was premeditated.

In their opening statement, prosecutors charge that Shiroo harbored intent to murder Ito sometime around February last year because he had a grudge against the municipal government.

Specifically, he was dissatisfied with the municipal government's response to his demand for compensation over an accident in which he damaged his car at a municipal road repair work site. Moreover, he was angry at the city because a construction company that provided funds to his group went bankrupt after the municipal government refused to extend loans to the firm.


iMainichi Japanj January 22, 2008
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Hollander
Posted: Mar 19 2008, 06:32 AM


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Gallows sought for yakuza assassin of Nagasaki mayor

NAGASAKI -- The one-time yakuza who assassinated Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito should be made to pay the ultimate penalty for "shaking the core of freedom and democracy," prosecutors told the Nagasaki District Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutors demanded 60-year-old ex-yakuza Tetsuya Shiroo be found guilty and sentenced to death for gunning down the 61-year-old Ito as he campaigned for re-election on the streets of Nagasaki in February last year.

"It was an act that stifled debate, shook the core of freedom and democracy and was clearly electoral terrorism," a prosecution lawyer told the court.

Shiroo, who has entered a guilty plea but denied any premeditation in Ito's death, was due to have lawyers present his closing arguments on Wednesday afternoon before the hearing in his murder trial adjourned prior to sentencing.

"I only thought of killing him for the first time when our eyes met (immediately before the shooting)," Shiroo told the court.


Shiroo has apologized to the slain mayor's family, but the former member of the Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza gang told his trial he doesn't know what motivated him to shoot dead the politician.

Prosecutors, however, said that Shiroo decided to kill Ito in late February last year due to his poor financial state after the mayor announced he would run for a fourth term.

Shiroo is accused of shooting Ito on the night of April 17 last year near the mayor's campaign office in front of JR Nagasaki Station. Ito died 6 1/2 hours later in a hospital.


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Hollander
Posted: Apr 17 2008, 04:29 AM


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Nagasaki residents call for end to violence on anniversary of mayor's shooting

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People observe a moment of silence in memory of former Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito in the event at Nagasaki Peace Park on Thursday morning.

NAGASAKI -- People gathered at Nagasaki Peace Park and held a sit-in calling for an end to violence on Thursday, one year after former Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito was shot dead by a gangster.

As rain fell in the city, people put their hands together in prayer and remembered the mayor, who was gunned down by one-time yakuza Tetsuya Shiroo. Prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for Shiroo. A ruling on his case is due to be handed down on May 26.

At the Nagasaki City Hall, Mayor Tomihisa Taue looked back on the deadly shooting, saying, "I can't describe the crime in a single phrase. The heavy feeling I experienced at the time of the incident remains in me, and it feels like it's welling up again. Following the former mayor's intentions, those of us who remain here must make Nagasaki into a good city."

About 80 people participated in the sit-in at Nagasaki Peace Park, calling for the eradication of violence. They also stressed the importance of freedom of expression, mentioning the issue of cinemas canceling screening of the controversial documentary "Yasukuni," which focuses on Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine, where the war dead are honored.

"We must not let the shooting incident fade with time," a member of the group of demonstrators said.


(Mainichi Japan) April 17, 2008

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Hollander
Posted: May 26 2008, 03:49 AM


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Gallows await Nagasaki mayor's yakuza assassin


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Shiroo being placed in the custody of the Nagasaki District Public Prosecutors Office. (Mainichi file)

NAGASAKI -- The yakuza gunman who assassinated Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito as he campaigned for re-election in April last year was Monday handed the death sentence by the Nagasaki District Court for a crime prosecutors said "shook the foundations of democracy."

Tetsuya Shiroo, the former high-ranking member of a designated crime syndicate, was found guilty of murdering the mayor and ordered to pay the ultimate penalty.

"You aimed to halt the mayor's re-election to a fourth term," Presiding Judge Yoshimichi Matsuo told Shiroo. "The killing occurred because the city would not recognize your unfair demands."

Court records showed that Shiroo's savings had dwindled from about 3 million yen some five years earlier to about 40,000 yen and he was feeling the pinch financially. While looking for money, he became agitated at the municipal government because it would not help him with a loan and refused to acknowledge his claims for compensation for an accident he had caused himself. This led Shiroo to develop a grudge against Ito.

The court determined that Shiroo decided to kill the mayor not long after he learned Ito planned to run for a fourth term and announced that decision toward the end of February last year. Shiroo started tailing Ito from early April that year. Ito was shot twice in the back at close range outside a train station in April last year while campaigning.

"The crime was premeditated and the court recognizes the intent to kill was strong," Matsuo said, dismissing the defense claim that Shiroo only decided to kill Ito on the spur of the moment.

Matsuo also touched on Shiroo's ties to the underworld.

"By committing a major incident aimed at causing reverberations throughout society you also wanted to show off your position as a high-ranking crime syndicate member," Matsuo said.

During prosecutors' summation of their case in a March hearing, they touched on a November 1999 Supreme Court ruling where the death sentence was handed down for the murder of a Tokyo housewife because of the effects the crime had on society. Prosecutors argued that the number of people killed should not determine whether the death penalty be applied, but that the influence of a crime on how people live should be a deciding factor in whether the ultimate penalty was handed down.

"There is no precedent in crime history like this case. It was electoral terrorism that shook the foundations of democracy," a prosecution lawyer said at the time.


(Mainichi Japan) May 26, 2008
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Hollander
Posted: May 27 2008, 01:18 AM


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Viciousness of gangs factor in death sentence
The Yomiuri Shimbun

Considering the malicious nature of the crime and the unreasonable motives behind it, the Nagasaki District Court had little choice but to sentence the defendant to the ultimate punishment.

The court on Monday handed down a death sentence to Tetsuya Shiroo, a former senior gangster who shot Nagasaki Mayor Itcho Ito to death in April last year.

At the time of crime, Ito was campaigning for a fourth term as mayor. During the trial, prosecutors insisted that the crime was "an act of terrorism targeting an election." Monday's ruling pointed out that it was a crime "hardly forgivable in a democratic society" as it permanently deprived a candidate of their freedom to conduct an election campaign and political activities by violence.

According to the ruling, the gangster had held a grudge against the mayor after a dispute with the Nagasaki municipal government that began when his efforts to unjustly claim money from the local government were repeatedly rebuffed.

The gangster pressured the city with the aim of obtaining loans through its lending program for small and mid-sized companies for a construction company that was a major source of funds for Shiroo and his gang.

===

Trumped up claim


After intentionally damaging a car at a construction site on a city road, he demanded the municipal government make a construction company pay to repair the car.

Such actions are typical of the tactics gangsters and others use to try to twist the arms of administrative officials to collect undeserved benefits--to intimidate officials and coerce them into meeting their demands.

According to the ruling, the defendant, who failed to obtain money from the city, "felt humiliated as a gang leader so he sought to display his own power." This is also a "self-centered reasoning that is peculiar to organized criminal syndicates."

A nine-item guideline for applying the death sentence was presented by the Supreme Court in 1983. One of the criteria is the number of victims. Referring to this point, Monday's ruling said that "it cannot be helped but to impose capital punishment even when it is considered that there was only one victim," also taking into consideration his motives and the gravity of the outcome.

As for reasons for handing down the death sentence, the court pointed out "mounting social demands on seeking to prevent similar crimes."

===

Penalty fit precedents


Such a viewpoint is also important in determining a sentence. Since there are many cases in which death sentences have been handed down in single-victim cases, Monday's ruling does not contradict the nine-item guideline by the Supreme Court.

Violence against authorities is a problem that many administrative entities face. All authorities must firmly deal with such violence and make the gangsters understand that trying to pressure authorities will not work.

The revised Antigang Law has been enacted and comes into force in August. Interference with administrative authorities, something that is difficult to prove and build a criminal case around, will, under the new law, be easier to eliminate through an order from a public safety commission. We hope the law will be effective when applied properly in cooperation with the police.

The ruling also pointed out that Ito's murder was "a crime using a firearm that exposes the viciousness of gangsters."

Since the murder of the Nagasaki mayor, we have seen other heinous crimes committed by gangsters using guns, including a riot police officer shot dead by a former gang member in Nagakutecho, Aichi Prefecture, in May, and a male patient shot and killed by a gangster in a hospital in Takeo, Saga Prefecture, in November.

Police must make every effort to seize the firearms that give the organized criminal syndicates such power and clarify how the weapons were obtained.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, May 27, 2008)

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Hollander
Posted: Jul 3 2008, 04:21 AM


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Kaoru Takamura: Death sentence for Itoh slaying highly suspect

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/...0806180044.html
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