Yano Osamu

Mob boss to hang for five slayings

Kyodo News

The Tokyo District Court sentenced a mob boss to death Monday for ordering two separate shootings in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, and Tokyo in which five people, including three bystanders, were killed.

Osamu Yano, 58, boss of an arm of the Sumiyoshi-kai mob syndicate, was convicted of ordering accomplices to open fire in a bar in Maebashi in January 2003 in which three bystanders and a mobster were killed.

He was also convicted of ordering the fatal shooting of the leader of a gang under his group's wing at a Tokyo hospital in February 2002.

Yano's not-guilty plea denied statements by his alleged accomplices that he had ordered them to carry out the shootings.

Prosecutors had demanded the death sentence.
Presiding Judge Yoshifumi Asayama ruled that Yano masterminded the attacks as part of a turf war among rival gangs.

"The defendant involved three members of the public who just happened to be there, in his indiscriminate terrorism," Asayama said of the Maebashi case. "The defendant realized that the shooting in the bar would involve people other than his target, but he did not order the accomplices to be careful so that they would not hurt other people."

Noting that Yano gave specific orders to his hit men to shoot the targets, the judge concluded that the boss "bears equal or even more grave responsibility" for the crimes.

In the Maebashi shooting, Masato Kohinata, a 38-year-old member of Yano's group, has been sentenced to death in district and high court rulings for killing the four and injuring two others. Kohinata, who has appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court, has testified that he had acted on Yano's orders.

The 6,000-member Sumiyoshi-kai is a major gang in the Kanto region along with the Inagawa-kai, which has 5,000 members. Yakuza gangs control various entertainment businesses, including bars and night clubs.

Mob gun bust

A Tokyo mob boss affiliated with the Kyokuto-kai syndicate has been arrested for allegedly possessing three guns, police said Monday.

Hideo Amagai, 58, is suspected of having an acquaintance conceal a revolver, a semiautomatic pistol and an air gun modified into a lethal weapon, as well as 60 bullets, at the man's home in Nakano Ward, Tokyo. The 53-year-old acquaintance, a part-time gangster, told police he was asked by Amagai to stash the guns in January or February.

The Japan Times: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2007
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