KITAKYUSHU – A dozen gangsters affiliated with the underworld group Kudo-kai have been arrested in connection with the fatal drive-by shooting of a construction company executive in November 2011.
Toshihiro Uchino, 72, chairman of Hakushin Kensetsu, was shot to death in front of his home in Kitakyushu on the night of Nov. 26, 2011.
The police suspect Futoshi Urita, a 53-year-old senior member of the yakuza group, conspired with the others to kill him.
Uchino’s company is a subcontractor that was in a position to select other subcontractors from a group of 80 firms for a construction project. The police suspect gang trouble emerged over the project. Yakuza often receive money under the table to broker the interests of small construction firms.
The mobsters are being held on suspicion of murder and of violating the Firearm and Sword Control Law, investigative sources said. They are also looking into whether Satoru Nomura, the 70-year-old head of Kudo-kai, was involved in the slaying.
The senior Kudo-kai member has been charged with violating the organized crime law in connection with another case involving an assault on a nurse in 2013.
According to the Fukuoka Prefectural Police, Uchino returned home that night in a car driven by an acquaintance after attending a sumo tournament in the city of Fukuoka with his wife. When he got out of the car, two men on a motorcycle rode up and the one sitting in back fired two shots, one of which hit Uchino in the neck. He died from blood loss.
Around 2011, a series of attacks targeting business owners and citizens took place in Kitakyushu, where Kudo-kai is based.
The Fukuoka Prefectural Police believe the group was involved in most of the incidents. Nomura was subsequently arrested for his alleged involvement in the fatal shooting of the director of a local fishing cooperative.
Kudo-kai has lost clout in recent years and lost many members.