KITAKYUSHU (TR) – Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Thursday arrested the president of the Kudo-kai organized crime group for the murder of a fishery cooperative president, reports the Mainichi Shimbun (Sept. 11).
At approximately 7:20 a.m., police took Satoru Nomura, 67, into custody at his residence in Kokurakita Ward for the murder of Kunihiro Kajiwara on the night of February 18, 1998. Kajiwara (then age 70) was struck by four bullets at point-blank range as he stood in the street.
Dozens of officers in helmets and vests stood outside the Nomura’s residence as members of the Kudo-kai bowed in front of the police vehicle as it took the suspect off the premises.
“Measures to restrict the activities of the Kudo-kai have entered a new phase,” said police chief Masato Higuchi at a press conference after the arrest. “We will be using our collective efforts in the future to provide a devastating blow to Kudo-kai.”
In 2002, a court convicted two members of the Kudo-kai for the killing of Kajiwara. However, recent investigations have yielded new evidence leading police to believe that upper management participated in the crime. In addition to Nomura’s arrest, police issued an arrest warrant for Fumio Tanoue, the 58-year-old number-two member of the gang, on the same charges.
Over the past year, members of the Kudo-kai are believed to have participated in a series of violent incidents involving former personnel of the fishery cooperative or relatives of Kajiwara, whose killing, according to police, was due to his refusal to lend support to a marine construction project in which the Kudo-kai were affiliated.
Last December, Tadayoshi Ueno, 70, then the president of the same cooperative, was shot dead near his residence in Wakamatsu Ward. Ueno was the younger brother of Kajiwara.
Ueno’s grandson, a 28-year-old dentist, was stabbed as he commuted to work this past May.
In July, a former employee of the fishery cooperative was stabbed as she returned home from shopping.