Mayor of Nagasaki dies after being shot

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Nagasaki Station (Photo by Kanko)

On April 16 Itchō Itō, 61, mayor of Nagasaki City, was shot two times in the back. Mayor Itō died at 2:28 a.m. at the Nagasaki University Hospital.

Itō was shot by a man yesterday in front of his campaign office just across from the JR Nagasaki train station. One bullet hit his heart, sending him into cardiac arrest. The attack occurred around 7:50 p.m. local time in Nagasaki.

Authorities believe that organized crime is behind the shooting. Immediately after the shooting, police arrested on the crime scene Tetsuya Shiroo, 59, a deputy-leader of the underground organized crime unit, Suishin-kai, and senior member of Yamaguchi-gumi.

He reportedly had trouble with the city for failure to compensate for an accident that had occurred a few years ago in which his car had been damaged at a construction site operated by the city's public works department. Police say that during an interrogation Shiroo confessed to the shooting and his intent to kill Itō.

Itō is the fifth politician to be shot in Japan since World War II; a rare occurrence, because gun ownership is banned in Japan.

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