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Kyushu fisheries boss shot dead

Businessman latest to be gunned down in gang-prone Kitakyushu

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

The head of a fisheries cooperative association died Friday morning after being shot in Kitakyushu, police said.

Tadayoshi Ueno, 70, who was shot in the chest and arm, is believed to have been attacked after leaving his home to take out the garbage at around 7:40 a.m., police said.

He was found on a street by a passerby and died shortly afterward in a hospital.

A nearby resident saw a car fleeing the scene after hearing gunshots, according to the police, who are looking into the possibility that gangsters were involved.

According to an employee of the fisheries cooperative, Ueno was not the kind of person who could become the target of a grudge. He was in charge of negotiations on various matters with the city and the prefecture, the employee said.

But Ueno and his family have long been targets of violence. Gunshots were fired into the wall of his house in 1997, and the following year his elder brother was shot dead on a street.

In 2007, both his daughter’s house and his son’s workplace were also targeted by gunfire.

Ueno, whose family runs a civil engineering company, was previously shot at near his house in 1997 but escaped unhurt, Jiji Press reported.

Investigators said he became a target because he refused to let criminal elements build a container terminal for a public works projects.

According to the police, there have been several cases of violence targeting business leaders in Kitakyushu in recent years.

Last month, the president of a local construction company was attacked by a knife-wielding man in front of his home. In April last year, a former Fukuoka Prefectural Police official was shot and seriously wounded, and in November 2011 another local construction firm chief was shot dead in front of his home.

“There were shooting incidents in the past, and I’m worried a stray bullet may hit me,” said a 62-year-old homemaker who lived near Ueno.

Another neighbor, a 63-year-old man who watched Ueno die, said he was shocked: “I’ve never thought this could happen here. I’m scared.”

Friday’s shooting came the day after the president of a well-known “gyoza” (dumpling) chain was shot dead in Kyoto.