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TOKYO — The mayor of the Japanese city of Nagasaki was shot to death in a brazen attack today by an organized crime chief apparently enraged that the city refused to compensate him after his car was damaged at a public works construction site, police said.
The shooting was rare in a country where handguns are strictly banned and only five politicians are known to have been killed since World War II.
Mayor Iccho Ito, 61, was shot twice in the back at point-blank range outside a train station today evening, Nagasaki police official Rumi Tsujimoto said. One of the bullets struck the mayor's heart and he went into cardiac arrest, according to Nagasaki University Hospital spokesman Kenzo Kusano. Ito died after emergency surgery, said Nagasaki prefectural police official Hirofumi Ito.
Tetsuya Shiroo, a senior member of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest organized crime syndicate, was wrestled to the ground by officers after the attack and arrested for attempted murder, police said.
It was the second attack in the last 20 years against a mayor of Nagasaki, which was destroyed by a U.S. atomic bomb in 1945 and whose leaders have actively campaigned against militarism.