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2008年5月27日 (火)


(May. 27, 2008) The Yomiuri Shimbun

Viciousness of gangs factor in death sentence

長崎市長射殺 「選挙テロ」に下った死刑判決(5月27日付・読売社説)

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."


humiliated=恥をかかせつ、屈辱を与える)(peculiar to=特有の、独特の)   

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)

20085270159  読売新聞)


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