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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Nagasaki Mayor Murdered

長崎市長銃撃

Mayor ItoThe mayor of Nagasaki was fatally shot twice in the back by a member of the Japanese underworld yesterday.

Mayor Itcho Ito, 61, was shot at point blank range outside Nagasaki Station by Tetsuya Shiroo, 59, a leading member of the Suishin-kai, a local affiliate of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest organized crime syndicate.

Speculation on the motives for the attack may be as trivial as a compensation claim Shiroo was pursuing against the city after his car was damaged in a pothole in 2003; though organized crime involvement more likely points to possible corruption and kick-backs involving public works contracts rather than a personal vendetta.

Although Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called for a "rigorous investigation" into the shooting, it is doubtful that the ruling LDP, which has well-documented and long-standing links with yakuza organized crime, will do much once the outrage over Ito's death has died down.

Mayor Ito is the second mayor of Nagasaki to be shot. In 1990, former Mayor Hitoshi Motoshima was seriously wounded by a rightist, after the ex-mayor claimed Emperor Showa bore some responsibility for the events of World War II.

Japanese Politics and Society

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