The mayor of Nagasaki was murdered yesterday by a gangster affiliated with Japan's largest organized-crime syndicate. The assassin, who shot Iccho Ito twice in the back, reportedly was steamed that the city refused to pay for damages to his car after he drove it into a hole at a construction site.
Police captured Tetsuya Shiroo immediately after the shooting, which occurred days before Ito, an international peace activist, was to stand for reelection to a fourth term. "This murder, which took place in the middle of an election campaign, is a threat to democracy," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today. Shootings are rare in Japan, which bans handguns.