Kudo-kai Leader’s Furious Outburst Echoes Through Courtroom as Death Sentence is Commuted – a Chilling Moment in Legal History | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Kudo-kai Leader’s Furious Outburst Echoes Through Courtroom as Death Sentence is Commuted – a Chilling Moment in Legal History

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Nomura, the defendant, accompanied investigators during the raid on the Kudo-kai headquarters. (Photo taken in April 2010, image: Kyodo News)

During the first trial, the defendant vehemently voiced his objections to the death sentence handed down by the presiding judge. However, his reaction took a complete 180-degree turn during the appeal. The defendant appeared in court wearing a navy suit, white shirt, and no tie. When the verdict was announced, he looked up at the ceiling and seemed to breathe a sigh of relief.

On March 12th, in courtroom 1015 of the Fukuoka High Court, the appellate verdict was delivered to Satoru Nomura (age 77), the leader and chairman of the designated organized crime group “Kudo-kai,” who stands accused of crimes including murder and violations of the Organized Crime Punishment Law in four assault cases involving ordinary citizens. The initial death sentence was overturned, and instead, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

“In the first trial, Nomura was considered the mastermind in all four cases, but in the appellate trial, it was judged that ‘the manner of decision-making is unclear. After the first trial verdict, Nomura and the second-in-command of the Kudo-kai, Fumio Tagami (67), dissolved their defense team. They appointed a highly skilled lawyer who had handled many death penalty cases and others. Whether relieved by the overturned verdict in the appellate trial, Nomura deeply bowed to the presiding judge.

However, the atmosphere in the courtroom was peculiar. When Nomura and Tagami entered, the presiding judge warned at the outset, ‘If there are any irregular statements, you will be immediately ordered to leave.’ The audience underwent thorough body checks, and security guards were stationed inside the courtroom. Both defendants have appealed to the Supreme Court.” (National newspaper judicial affairs reporter)

FRIDAY Digital extensively reported on Nomura’s intimidation of the presiding judge immediately after the first trial verdict, with the headline “You’ll regret this for life!” The article, originally published on August 25, 2021, recapped the chilling scene in the courtroom and revisited events allegedly involving the Kudo-kai.

That’s terrible, Adachi-san!


Fukuoka District Court, Room 101.

The demeanor of the top yakuza boss, who had been calm while listening to the presiding judge’s statements, changed drastically when the verdict was delivered. Rising from the tall chair near the witness stand, he intimidated the presiding judge:

“I was asking for a fair trial, you know. Is this how a trial goes? You’ll regret this for life!”

The second defendant, who was also being tried alongside him, uttered as he left the courtroom:

“That’s terrible, Adachi-san!”

On August 24, 2021, a significant verdict was handed down at the Fukuoka District Court, presided over by Judge Tsutomu Adachi. The leader of the Kudo-kai, Nomura, was sentenced to death as requested, while the second-in-command, Tagami, received a life sentence.

“The catalyst was the Operation Summit, launched by the Fukuoka Prefectural Police in September 2014, to simultaneously arrest the executives of the ‘Kudo-kai,’ including Nomura. They determined that the leader of the Kudo-kai was involved in four heinous crimes, including the shooting of a former fisheries association chairman and the stabbing of a dentist, which occurred in February 1998. They conducted investigations with a force of about 3,800 people and arrested Nomura and others.

The trial began in October 2019. The Fukuoka District Court excluded the possibility of harm to selected individuals and excluded them from jury trials. Nomura spent nearly seven years in detention but reportedly showed confidence in his innocence. As an executor, there was no clear evidence to support his involvement.” (National newspaper social affairs reporter)



 Kudo-kai is headquartered in Kitakyushu City, Fukuoka Prefecture. Its presence is unique. Locally, it is known and feared as an aggressive organization. Residents of Kitakyushu City speak of it.


“I’ve talked to people affected by incidents related to the Kudo-kai before. One of them patted my shoulder and said, ‘It’s for your own good. It’s better not to know anything. Your parents and siblings are probably still here in the local area. It could get dangerous if you pry too much.’


They didn’t hesitate to involve ordinary citizens when problems arose. It’s from a while back, but there used to be bars in Kitakyushu City with signs saying ‘No yakuza allowed’ posted at the entrance. After a while, those bars ended up in a terrible state, as if they had been destroyed by firearms. It’s said that the Kudo-kai’s warehouse stores weapons that even the Self-Defense Forces would find surprising, such as anti-tank rocket launchers. They don’t hesitate to use any means, no matter how brutal, to achieve their goals.


When I hear the words ‘You’ll regret this for life,’ uttered by Nomura and others immediately after leaving the courtroom during this trial, it sends chills down my spine. They specifically mentioned the judge’s name to intimidate. It wouldn’t be surprising if it’s interpreted as a message to their remaining subordinates, would it?”


As Nomura showed confidence, there was no clear evidence linking the Kudo-kai’s top brass to the four incidents that the police had flagged. However, the unity within the Kudo-kai was evident, as top members greeted Nomura every morning by kneeling in respect. Judge Adachi stated, “It is inconceivable that members would act independently to commit crimes without permission from the leaders (Nomura and the others).” He made the heavy decision to hand down severe sentences, stating that it is appropriate to harshly condemn organized crime groups for their calculated acts of violence and concluding that capital punishment is unavoidable.

“This verdict is groundbreaking. It sends a strong message that society and law enforcement will not tolerate violence, especially from organizations like the Kudo-kai. It will likely serve as a deterrent to the excesses of other organized crime groups. While the appropriateness of the death penalty can be debated, I believe the guilty verdict is justified. Even without clear evidence of direct involvement, it’s common knowledge in the underworld that members cannot act without orders from the top.

However, Nomura’s statements in court should be a cause for concern. The words of a top figure in the Kudo-kai carry inherent intimidation. Even brief remarks can instill fear in the general public. This trial has once again highlighted the terror lurking behind the words of the Kudo-kai’s leadership.” (National newspaper social affairs reporter)

The final judgment now rests with the Supreme Court, in the trial of the top-ranking members of the Kudo-kai. The whole of Japan is watching the outcome closely.

  • Photo Kyodo News

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