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Japan police to protect judges, witnesses after yakuza head sentenced to death

A joint protection drill conducted by Fukuoka Prefectural Police and the Fukuoka detention center is seen in Fukuoka Prefecture on July 1, 2021. (Mainichi)

Fukuoka Prefectural Police on Aug. 25 ordered officers to protect related judges and witnesses after a local court handed a death sentence to the head of the feared Kudo-kai crime syndicate the previous day.

    The notice came in response to a remark made by 74-year-old Kudo-kai head Satoru Nomura to the presiding judge immediately after the Fukuoka District Court ruling on Aug. 24: "You'll regret this for the rest of your life."

    The Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture-based group is the only designated dangerous crime syndicate in Japan. The prefectural police are poised to beef up security measures once again against the gang.

    In connection with the public hearings of Nomura's case, a member of a Kudo-kai-affiliated gang was arrested and indicted for allegedly intimidating a male witness when they met as well as talked over the phone, in violation of Japan's organized crime law.

    The prefectural police headquarters has led the response to the Kudo-kai threat with about 100 officers at its organized crime division's protective measures office, keeping a close eye on the gang's moves following the court decision. The headquarters will also share information with other police departments to ensure the safety of those under protection in and outside Fukuoka Prefecture.


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