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Ex-yakuza on death row over fatal shooting of Nagasaki mayor dies in prison

OSAKA (TR) – Tetsuya Shiroo, a former gang member who received a death sentence following the fataly shooting of the mayor of Nagasaki City in 2007, has died due to illness in prison, reports TBS News (Jan. 24).

According to the Ministry of Justice, Shiroo, 72, is believed to have suffered from an illness. He died at a medical prison in Sakai City, Osaka Prefecture on Wednesday.

On the evening of April 17, 2007, Shiroo, then an upper-level member of the Yamaguchi-gumi, shot Itcho Ito, 61, with a pistol in front of Nagasaki Station. He was later confirmed dead.

At the time of the shooting, Ito, a proponent of peace and nuclear nonproliferation, was engaged in an election campaign.

The following year, the Nagasaki District Court handed Shiroo a death sentence. According to Kyodo News (May 27, 2008), presiding judge Yoshimichi Matsuo said, “[The act] infringed on the people’s right to vote and destabilized democracy at its roots.”

Tetsuya Shiroo (Twitter)

Matsuo added that Shiroo expressed a clear intent to kill: “[He] tried to exhibit his power by bringing about an incident that stunned society.”

During the trial, prosecutors said that Shiroo was in financial trouble before the incident. Specifically, a construction company he had ties to was unable to obtain loans from the city.

The ruling was later upheld by the Fukuoka High Court in an appeal.