Hollander - June 6, 2007 09:52 AM (GMT)
Friday, Sept. 21, 2007
Mob leaders found liable for botched hit
'Godfather,' others ordered to pay damages to Korean victim's family
By JUN HONGO
The Tokyo District Court on Thursday ordered the two top executives of Japan's second-biggest crime syndicate, including its "Godfather" and three hit men, to pay a combined ¥59 million in damages to the family of a South Korean student killed in a botched revenge shooting in 2001.
The civil suit was brought by family members of Yun Won Ju, then 24, claiming that he was the wrong target.
They argued that the two Sumiyoshi-kai executives, in addition to the three hit men involved in Yun's slaying, were liable for his death. Yun's parents and sister had demanded a combined ¥140 million in compensation.
In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Hideki Hama said the three hit men "conspired to conduct the hit," but the murder took place under the supervision of the gang's executives.
"Orders from the top were conveyed to the very bottom of the faction, and the chain of command was absolute," the ruling stated, finding that Shigeo Nishiguchi, the supreme head of the Sumiyoshi-kai, and Hareaki Fukuda, its chairman, were ultimately responsible for the slaying.
The Supreme Court in 2004 ordered executives of the Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate to pay compensation for the acts of their subordinates, but Thursday's ruling was the first to hold the Sumiyoshi-kai similarly liable.
None of the defendants appeared at court Thursday, and their lawyers did not comment on the ruling.
The focus of the trial was whether the court would find Nishiguchi and Fukuda liable. They supervise the group's conduct but were not present at the slaying.
According to the ruling, Yun was fatally shot in Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, on Oct. 10, 2001, the day he was scheduled to start taking classes at a Japanese-language school.
At the time, Kazutaka Matsumoto, Yoshiharu Yamaguchi and Motoshi Koike, members of the Sumiyoshi-kai affiliate Hirata-gumi, were tracking down a man who they believed was responsible for the death of a fellow gangster a few weeks earlier.
They mistook Yun as the revenge target and shot him four times in front of his condo.
The three hit men have already had their guilty verdicts finalized. One was sentenced to life in prison, one got 20 years and the third was given 10 years. Nishiguchi and Fukuda did not face criminal charges over the slaying.
Although the two executives had claimed they bore no responsibility for Yun's death because they were not in direct command of the hit, the court judged that the shooting was an attempt by the leaders to appeal to "the group's dignity and authority."
In filing the civil suit in February 2005, the plaintiffs had claimed that Yun had no ties with any gang activities. They denounced the yakuza syndicate and its executives "for killing an unrelated foreign student studying in Japan."
Following the verdict, Yun's family released a statement saying they were "relieved" by the ruling and thanked both the Korean and Japanese police for providing precautionary protection against mob intimidation during the trial.
Speaking to reporters after the verdict, Kenso Kono, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said he would "like to pay respect to the court" for holding the Sumiyoshi-kai executives liable.
Gangster under indictment for fake securities nabbed over forged taxi tickets
A yakuza and another man, under indictment for using fake securities, have been hit with new arrest warrants for importing a massive number of forged taxi tickets from China, Tokyo police said Wednesday.
The new arrest warrants accuse Mitsuharu Ban, 57, a member of an affiliate of the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, and former gangster Toshio Aizawa, 55, of importing forged securities.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) has confiscated roughly 11,000 forged taxi tickets, including those that have already been cashed. Investigators suspect that the tickets were forged at a facility in Fujian Province in China.
In the specific case for which they were hit with new warrants, Ban and Aizawa smuggled thousands of forged taxi tickets from China in August last year, the MPD said.
In November last year, a parcel addressed to Aizawa from China, containing a large number of forged taxi tickets, was confiscated at Narita Airport. (Mainichi)
Hollander - July 23, 2007 11:50 AM (GMT)
Gang member arrested in human trafficking case involving Japanese woman
UTSUNOMIYA -- Police have arrested at least two people including a gangster, accusing them of human trafficking by selling a Japanese woman to an adult entertainment business, it has been learned.
One of the arrested suspects was identified as Wataru Kurihara, 26, a member of a Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate-affiliated gang. It is the first time that police have formed a human trafficking case in which the victim has been a Japanese national.
Investigators said that Kurihara conspired to commit the crime with Lee Min-yong, 38, an operator of an adult entertainment business. In February this year, they allegedly sold a Japanese woman working at a sex business in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, to another adult entertainment business for approximately 5 million yen.
Lee has already been charged with violating the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.
Kurihara was arrested in May and subsequently charged after allegedly holding a 24-year-old sex business operator captive in an apartment in Utsunomiya and beating him, leaving him with injures requiring about three weeks' treatment, for running off with sales takings. The 24-year-old operator has also been charged with violating the Law Regulating Adult Entertainment Businesses.
Police suspect sales from the adult entertainment businesses were being used to fund gang activities. (Mainichi)
Hollander - September 13, 2007 10:52 AM (GMT)
Gangster dies, policeman hurt in shoot-out in Hokkaido
Tuesday, September 11, 2007 at 06:58 EDT
HAKODATE A gangster suspected of stealing a car in the city of Hakodate, Hokkaido, was shot to death during a car chase early Tuesday as he exchanged fire with police, officials said. One police officer was seriously injured in the incident around 12:35 a.m., they said.
The chase began when the gangster, a member of a group affiliated with the crime syndicate Sumiyoshi-kai, stole a car from a 39-year-old woman selling melons outside a hotel in the town of Nanae. The suspect fired at least three shots at the police car that was chasing him and a bullet pierced through the right arm of Assistant Police Inspector Mitsuaki Murai, 55, they said. A police officer fired five shots at the suspect's car. The shots pierced the suspect's body and he died shortly after at a hospital, they said.
Hollander - September 14, 2007 12:24 PM (GMT)
4 held in international money laundering ring
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
CHIBA--Police here have arrested a man from Nigeria, a gangster and two other Japanese on suspicion of illegally opening bank accounts used in money-laundering operations for overseas crime syndicates.
Christopher Ariri Noguchi, 39, from Sakado, Saitama Prefecture, who obtained Japanese citizenship after leaving Nigeria; Manabu Fukuda, 38, a senior member of a group affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate who lives in Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, and the two other men have admitted to the allegations, police said Thursday.
Police said the four opened bank accounts under dummy companies' names to launder money transferred from at least six countries.
Chiba prefectural police have confirmed about 1.3 billion yen from abroad was deposited in about 100 accounts opened by the suspects.
Prefectural police launched a joint investigation with Saitama prefectural police to crack a money laundering scheme run by another Nigerian using the same method, they said.
According to Chiba prefectural police, the four opened bank accounts in April and October 2005 in the cities of Funabashi and Chiba, knowing they would be used to launder money for syndicates outside Japan.
Between December 2004 and October 2006, the four opened about 100 bank accounts at major and local banks in the cities, the investigators said.
About 1.3 billion yen was remitted in the accounts from the United States, Germany, Canada, Britain, Australia and Switzerland. Police confirmed that about 260 million yen was later transferred to accounts in Canada, China and Britain.
Police suspect the accounts in Chiba Prefecture were likely used as the "entrepot" for the entire money laundering scheme by crime syndicates around the world.
Earlier this month, Saitama prefectural police arrested six people, including a Nigerian, for their alleged involvement in a money laundering scheme involving about 700 million yen swindled in the United States.(IHT/Asahi: September 14,2007)
Hollander - November 13, 2007 12:46 PM (GMT)
Yakuza pair arrested for ramming truck into sumo stable
TERRORIZED -- Former Komusubi Kyokushuzan was forced from the ring following troubles with the yakuza. (Mainichi file)
Two members of the Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza gang have been arrested for ramming a 2-ton truck into sumo's Oshima Stable in Tokyo's Sumida-ku in November last year, police said Tuesday.
Arrested for willful destruction of property were Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza pair Yoshifumi Okawa, 46, of Abiko, Chiba Prefecture, and Shigenori Kitabatake, 30, of Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture.
A warrant has been taken out for the arrest of a third member of the Sumiyoshi-kai who is accused of involvement in the attack, which police believe took place because of money troubles between the yakuza gang and former Komusubi Kyokushuzan, who belonged to the Oshima Stable.
Both the suspects have admitted to the allegations against them, police said.
Kyokushuzan retired from sumo soon after the November 2006 alleged attack on his stable, later saying that he would have continued to grapple had it not been for the troubles he was having with the yakuza. In July, three high-ranking members of the Sumiyoshi-kai were arrested for trying to blackmail Kyokushuzan in connection with money problems, but they were later released without being charged.
A tear gas attack two days before the truck was rammed into the stable is also being investigated, with Kitabatake and Okawa among the suspects.
Police said Kitabatake and Okawa stole a 2-ton truck from Ageo, Saitama Prefecture, and rammed it into the front of the Oshima Stable early on the morning of Nov. 11, 2006, smashing a concrete pillar and destroying a bicycle. Police said the pair left the truck where they crashed it and fled the scene.
Hollander - November 15, 2007 11:41 AM (GMT)
Man arrested for dumping body of suspected gang boss
KASHIWA, Chiba -- A man has been arrested for dumping the body of a man, believed to be a missing gang boss in his 50s, on the premises of a deserted house, police said.
The man, whose name was not immediately disclosed, was taken into custody after turning himself in to local police and confessing that he dumped the victim's body.
Police have found the body at the scene in the Chiba Prefecture city of Tomisato, and are trying to confirm his identity. Local police are searching for some other men involved in the incident.
Several men stormed into the apartment of a female acquaintance of the gang boss in Kashiwa sometime around Oct. 14 and confined her there, investigators said. They also detained the yakuza who later visited her apartment. He had since gone missing.
The woman was moved to another house in Tomisato, but managed to escape on Oct. 15, and alerted police two days later.
Officers who searched the apartment found a massive amount of bloodstains in the room. DNA tests have proven the blood matched that of the yakuza.
Local police suspect that the men abandoned the body of the victim after murdering him. The victim was the leader of a group affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate.
Hollander - December 10, 2007 11:52 AM (GMT)
Gang boss sentenced to death for masterminding five murders
MAEBASHI -- A gang boss was sentenced to death Monday for masterminding the shooting deaths of five people including two rival gang leaders in two incidents.
The Maebashi District Court convicted Osamu Yano, 58, of playing a leading role in the murder of four people at a bar in Maebashi in an attack on a rival gang boss. He was also found guilty of the shooting death of another rival gang leader at a hospital.
"The lives of five people were lost in these incidents. The defendant's responsibility as the mastermind is extremely heavy," Presiding Judge Yoshifumi Asayama said as he handed down the ruling. "He suddenly fired more than 10 shots at the bar in an indiscriminate terrorist attack. A number of ordinary citizens were victims."
Yano, leader of a gang affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, ordered Masato Kohinata, 38, to murder the leader of a rival crime syndicate in early 2003, according to the ruling.
Kohinata fired shots in a bar in Maebashi on Jan. 25, 2003, killing three customers and a former yakuza who was guarding an ex-rival gang boss, the court found. In the incident, the ex-gang boss and another person suffered serious injuries.
Yano also conspired with another 58-year-old gang boss affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai to shoot another rival gang boss to death who was undergoing treatment at an intensive care unit of a Tokyo hospital on Feb. 25, 2002, the judge said.
iMainichi Japanj December 10, 2007
Hollander - January 21, 2008 12:37 PM (GMT)
Hollander - January 22, 2008 11:08 AM (GMT)
Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2008
Third mobster faces gallows over Gunma bar shooting
MAEBASHI, Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) The Maebashi District Court sentenced a gangster to death Monday for killing a mobster and three bystanders in a shooting at a bar in 2003.
Relatives of people slain in a 2003 bar shooting in Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, face reporters Monday after a yakuza was sentenced to hang for the crime. KYODO PHOTO
Found guilty was Kenichiro Yamada, 41, a senior member of the Yano Mutsumi-kai underworld group.
"The case is an unprecedented tragedy as three people who happened to be at the bar were gunned down, and the defendant played an essential role in the shooting" involving other gang members, , presiding Judge Yasuhiro Kuga said.
Capital punishment is "the only option in terms of the severity of the crime," Kuga said, calling the acts "extremely atrocious."
Yamada is the third person to be sentenced to hang over the shooting.
His lawyers plan to file an appeal.
According to the court, Yamada and another member of the gang, Masato Kohinata, 38, opened fire at the bar in Maebashi on Jan. 25, 2003, killing three bystanders and seriously wounding another as well as the 60-year-old former boss of a rival group. They then fatally shot the bodyguard of the mob boss outside the bar.
Yamada and Kohinata were involved in the shooting under orders from Osamu Yano, 59, head of the Yano Mutsumi-kai, the court said.
The shooting was part of a turf war between the rival Sumiyoshi-kai and Inagawa-kai syndicates. The Yano Mutsumi-kai was affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai, and the shooting in Maebashi was targeted against the rival group member as a reprisal against the murders in 2001 of two Sumiyoshi-kai members in a funeral house in Tokyo, according to police.
Yamada initially denied involvement but later made a partial confession to the shootings. His lawyers had sought leniency, claiming he shot only some of the victims.
But the court held Yamada responsible for all the deaths and injuries at least as an accomplice, even though he may not have shot them all.
Prosecutors had demanded the death penalty in their closing arguments, harshly denouncing the shooting as "a crime of unprecedented violence and a blatant challenge to a nation ruled by law."
Yano is appealing his death sentence given separately by the same district court. Kohinata is appealing his death sentence, which has been upheld at the high-court level.
Relatives of the victims welcomed the death sentence handed to Yamada, saying they had wanted this for the past five years.
"We want (Yamada) to think about the fear this crime generated among the public," one of the relatives told reporters after the ruling.
Hollander - March 11, 2008 10:14 AM (GMT)
Second-in-command of major yakuza group arrested for extortion
The second-in-command of the Sumiyoshi-kai yazuka syndicate has been arrested, along with several others, for trying to extort money from a construction company involved in a new high-rise tower in front of JR Tokyo Station, say investigators.
The 47-year-old gangster, who heads an affiliate of the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate and serves as "vice president" of the Sumiyoshi-kai, and his accomplices stand accused of attempted extortion. Their names were not immediately disclosed.
They allegedly attempted to extort a construction company, subcontracted by a joint venture which built the GranTokyo North Tower, completed in November last year, according to Tokyo police. The seven general contractors that formed the joint venture had set up an anti-gang task force with the help of the Metropolitan Police Department to prevent extortion attempts.
Hollander - March 25, 2008 07:03 PM (GMT)
Kanuma mayor met gangster to avert city contract strife
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
KANUMA, Tochigi Prefecture--The mayor of this rural city met with a gangster here late last year to settle a dispute over a public works project that had threatened to "get out of hand," sources said over the weekend.
The Dec. 20 meeting was arranged by Kikuo Arai, a former Tochigi prefectural assembly chairman and chief of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's Kanuma branch, the sources said.
Besides Mayor Kazuo Abe and Arai, it was attended by Osamu Nakatsu, head of the Kanuma Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the head of a gang affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate, the sources said.
Hideo Komatsu, chairman of the Kanuma city assembly, was also present.
The yakuza group was upset that its members were not allowed to join subcontractors to a public works contract worth 135 million yen that was awarded to a construction company headed by Nakatsu, according to the sources.
Arai acknowledged that the five individuals met to discuss the problem.
"Even a gangster is still a citizen," Arai told The Asahi Shimbun in an interview. "Surely, there shouldn't be any problems with a citizen talking to the mayor?
"I thought it might be a good idea for us to get together before the problem got out of hand. It is the mayor's responsibility to ensure the safety of city workers."
The meeting took place just as talks were winding up on settling a damages suit stemming from the murder of a Kanuma city official in 2001.
In a court-mediated settlement March 5, the city admitted that the slaying of Mamoru Kosasa, 57, by gangsters resulted from its "inappropriate waste management administration."
After his abduction and murder, the city created a manual on how to deal with unlawful demands from gangsters and others as part of efforts to prevent a recurrence.
It calls for "proper responses" to violent actions and unfair demands.
Arai staunchly defended setting up the meeting between the mayor and the gang leader on grounds "priority must be given to preventing a recurrence (of the 2001 incident)."
The public works contract, for the demolition of a shopping complex, was awarded to Nakatsu's company in a city tender last October.
Members of the gang later demanded that they be recognized as a partial subcontractor. On Dec. 8, the Tochigi prefectural police ordered them to stop making unreasonable demands, the sources said.
Around that time, gang members resorted to driving a campaign van through the city that blared out accusations of "collusion between the city and a contractor."
In the Dec. 20 meeting, Mayor Abe told the gang chief he had been hoping they would have a get-together.
"If there's something on your mind, please don't hesitate to tell me, directly if you like," sources quoted the mayor as telling the gang leader.
The gangster told The Asahi Shimbun that the meeting was proposed "by the other side."
"Problems arose because a wrecking company that our men are involved in was removed from subcontracting work," the gang chief said.
Abe has refused to talk to The Asahi Shimbun, but sent a written statement via a secretary Friday night calling for caution in media coverage in view of "justice, fairness and neutrality in election reporting."
It said a "suspicious note" is circulating that alleges he met with a yakuza-related person. It said this was apparently aimed at attacking his support base because he plans to seek a third term in a mayoral election in May.(IHT/Asahi: March 24,2008)
Hollander - April 2, 2008 10:11 AM (GMT)
Yakuza shot dead in Saitama
FUJIMINO, Saitama -- A yakuza was shot dead in a car parked here early Tuesday morning, police said.
At around 5:40 a.m., a member of an affiliate of the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate called for an ambulance saying that another member had been shot near its office.
Paramedics found Atsushi Suzuki, 35, a senior member of the group, collapsed in a car parked near the gang office in Fujimino, bleeding from his stomach. He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Investigators suspect that Suzuki was attacked immediately after he came out of the gang office to go home.
Police are investigating a link between the shooting and an incident in which a 35-year-old man believed to be linked to a gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate was stabbed to death in Yashio, Saitama Prefecture, on Monday.
(Mainichi Japan) April 1, 2008
Yakuza involvement suspected after decorator finds front door riddled with bullet holes
KAWAGUCHI, Saitama -- An interior designer here returned home Tuesday afternoon to find the front door of his house riddled with bullet holes, police said.
Investigators said they suspect that the decorator has become caught up in an ongoing gangland war, noting that there have been three attacks in Saitama prefecture believed related to yakuza rivalry. The victim was quoted as telling investigators that he had no idea why his home was targeted.
At around 3 p.m. on April 1, the 65-year-old interior decorator returned to his home in Kawaguchi to find what appeared to be bullet holes in the front door, and alerted police.
Investigators who examined the scene found three bullets near the front door and four cartridges at a garage approximately 15 meters from the entrance.
Local residents reported having heard shots and seen two men fleeing the scene on a motorcycle, local police said.
(Mainichi Japan) April 2, 2008
Hollander - April 23, 2008 09:21 AM (GMT)
Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza gang reach settlement with slain Korean's family
The Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza gang has reached a Tokyo High Court-brokered settlement with the family of a South Korean student mistakenly shot dead by a gangster seven years ago, representatives of the plaintiff said.
Sumiyoshi-kai and its director general Shigeo Nishiguchi will pay 70 million yen in compensation to the man's family, as well as give a public expression of grief.
"We want to ensure citizens can lead safe and peaceful daily lives and will endeavor to ensure incidents like this never happen again," the yakuza gang said in a statement released in connection with the settlement.
The Korean man's family sued Nishiguchi and the yakuza syndicate after he was accidentally shot dead by a yakuza gunman on the streets of Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, in October 2001.
(Mainichi Japan) April 23, 2008
Hollander - May 20, 2008 11:02 AM (GMT)
gangsters among 3 nabbed for dumping corpse in forest
YUKI, Ibaraki -- Two yakuza were among three men arrested for abandoning the body of a company employee in a forest, police said.
Masato Motono, 42, a member of a gang affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai criminal syndicate; Yuichi Sunaga, 27, another gangster; and Hiroyuki Adachi, a 31-year-old farmer, are accused of abandoning a corpse.
On Monday, Ibaraki Prefectural Police found the body of Takao Enokido, 31, a company employee from Yuki in a forest in Sakuragawa, Ibaraki Prefecture. Enokido had been missing since January.
Investigators will further question the three suspects over how Enokido died.
The three men buried his body in a forest sometime around mid-January, according to local police.
Enokido had been missing since he got involved in a dispute with Motono and his peers at a parking lot of a bar in Chikusei in January. The bar is over a dozen kilometers away from the forest where his body was found.
(Mainichi Japan) May 20, 2008
Hollander - September 27, 2008 10:17 AM (GMT)
Yakuza bosses settle lawsuit / Sumiyoshi-kai leaders acknowledge responsibility for bar shooting
The Yomiuri Shimbun
Investigators examine the scene of a gang shooting in Maebashi on Jan. 26,
2003.MAEBASHI--The leaders of the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate formally acknowledged their "employers' liability" for the death of one of three bystanders killed when members of an affiliate gang shot up a bar in Maebashi in 2003.
The admission was part of a settlement reached Friday in a lawsuit filed by the family of one of the victims.
According to an attorney for the plaintiffs, Shigeo Nishiguchi and Hareaki Fukuda--Sumiyoshi-kai's top two leaders--agreed to pay 97.5 million yen in compensation to the plaintiffs, promised to prevent similar incidents and expressed regret to the victims' relatives.
It is believed to be the first time that gang bosses have formally acknowledged their liability as employers for a crime committed by subordinates.
On Jan. 25, 2003, two members of a gang affiliated with Sumiyoshi-kai fired a number of shots inside and outside a bar in Maebashi, killing four people and severely wounding two. A man formerly linked to a gang affiliated with the rival Inagawa-kai crime syndicate was killed along with three customers of the bar. One of the two people wounded was a former leader of the gang affiliated with Inagawa-kai.
The two attackers and their boss, who ordered the shooting, were arrested, convicted and sentenced to death. They have lodged an appeal with higher courts.
In November 2006, three family members of one of the murdered bystanders filed a 197.6 million yen lawsuit against the two attackers, the senior member of the affiliate gang who ordered the attack, Nishiguchi and Fukuda. One of the two attackers agreed to pay his portion. The other attacker and the senior gang member were ordered by the high court to pay 88 million yen. The decision was finalized.
The suit against Nishiguchi and Fukuda was separated as it involved employer liability. Earlier in the trial, Nishiguchi and Fukuda denied their employers' liability and sought to have the case dismissed.
The court proposed a settlement in respect of the case in April.
The plaintiffs said they would accept the court-mediated settlement if the defendants would acknowledge their liability as employers. The defendants presented a settlement proposal earlier this month.
Speaking at a press conference after the settlement was finalized, the eldest daughter of the victim said: "Since we sued gangsters, we've been fearful that we may lose more family members. We'll continue to be terrified, but now I'll tell my [late] father at the home altar that the Sumiyoshi-kai bosses acknowledged their responsibility."
She was accompanied by her husband, who held a portrait of the victim.
The plaintiffs' lawyers said in a statement, "The ruling will bring significant results in terms of relief from gang crimes and prevention of such crimes."
(Sep. 27, 2008)
Hollander - September 30, 2008 12:19 PM (GMT)
Man held after body found in Saitama forest
The Yomiuri Shimbun
SAITAMA--A 26-year-old man from Shinjuku Ward, Tokyo, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of abandoning a dead body, the Saitama prefectural police said.
According to the police, Hisazumi Yamaguchi, who described himself as a part-time worker, colluded with several men suspected to be members of the Sumiyoshi-kai yakuza group, to take a man's corpse by car from Shinjuku Ward and bury it in the woods in Sasakubo, Iwatsuki Ward, Saitama, in late August.
Earlier, the eldest daughter of a 40-year-old man from Tokorozawa in the same prefecture had reported to the police that her father had been missing since he was seen being taken away by several men from a restaurant in Sayama, also in the prefecture, on Aug. 29.
From information gathered from the missing man's acquaintances who are connected with the crime syndicate, it became clear that Yamaguchi was the prime suspect in the man's disappearance.
(Sep. 25, 2008)
Hollander - September 30, 2008 12:26 PM (GMT)
|QUOTE (Hollander @ Sep 27 2008, 04:17 AM)|
| Shigeo Nishiguchi and Hareaki Fukuda--Sumiyoshi-kai's top two leaders |
Chairman Fukuda on the second picturehttp://oyabunjapne.jugem.jp/?page=2
Nitro - September 30, 2008 04:20 PM (GMT)
You know who are the other guys ?
sorry for my bad english
Hollander - January 10, 2009 11:37 AM (GMT)
Tokyo turf war as recession hits crime gangs
Leo Lewis, Tokyo | January 10, 2009
Article from: The Australian
AN attractive residential back street, a highly desirable postcode and a hugely provocative bit of corporate relocation could unleash a murderous gang war on the streets of Tokyo.
Veteran observers of Japanese organised crime are predicting a spike in violence in the coming weeks as two rival yakuza crime syndicates threaten to battle it out for supremacy of the protection, prostitution and drugs rackets in the centre of the city.
The stakes are rising fast. With many of their business interests such as property and construction battered by recession, the gangs are scrambling more aggressively for the profits from rackets such as blackmail and loan-sharking, which thrive in the more glamorous districts of Tokyo, according to one authority on the yakuza.
Police sources said the immediate risk was in a short strip of road in the glitzy Akasaka district of Tokyo and potentially explosive relations between the long-term residents and the new neighbours.
On one of the narrow streets in the sought-after area, which boasts foreign embassies, TV studios, chic boutiques, schools and five-star hotels, are the headquarters of the ruthless Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate.
Like the premises of other yakuza gangs throughout Japan, they are warily tolerated by the authorities. The Sumiyoshi-kai's dominance has stood more or less unchallenged for many years, as has its very profitable share of the rackets it controls in the Akasaka and Roppongi entertainment districts.
This week, however, the Inagawa-kai - the dominant force in Yokohama and the Tokyo suburbs - moved into a three-storey apartment block a couple of hundred metres away. Police say the gang is calling the building its "Tokyo liaison office".
The risk of a bloody "land grab" for Tokyo rackets comes after the worst year for Japanese shares - investments to which the syndicates are said to be highly exposed.
The brazen proximity of the two gang offices poses significant risks, police fear. The Inagawa-kai and Sumiyoshi-kai are evenly matched in terms of numbers - both have about 10,000 members - but the former has the backing of the western Japan-based Yamaguchi-gumi, which eclipses them all, with 40,000 loyal followers.
Police believe the crime groups have begun arming themselves more heavily, with weaponry such as hand grenades and anti-personnel mines.
The theory is that the Yamaguchi-gumi, in an attempt to gain a stronger foothold in Tokyo, may be using its ties with the Inagawa clan to spearhead a turf war with the Sumiyoshi-kai.
"Financially, there is a very big deal at stake in Akasaka because the rackets in central Tokyo make so much money," yakuza expert Joshua Adelstein said. "The Sumiyoshi-kai can be expected to fight very hard to hold on to its position."
He said the potential for things to get bloody in gangland was already beginning to show, with several killings in broad daylight last year, exposing the fragility of relations between the leading yakuza groups.
Hollander - January 10, 2009 12:03 PM (GMT)
Japanese mafia takes a hit from financial crisis
Tuesday, 6 January , 2009 08:25:00
Reporter: Mark Willacy
ELEANOR HALL: Japan's leading organised crime expert says that the global financial crisis is now squeezing the economy so badly that it's hurting the Japanese mafia - the Yakuza.
Raisuke Miyawaki is a former director of the Japanese National Police Agency's underworld taskforce.
He told AM that the global slump is hitting the Yakuza's real estate and finance holdings and that the mafia organisation is now branching out into new fields.
North Asia correspondent Mark Willacy reports.
(Sound of people shouting and fighting)
MARK WILLACY: It takes either supreme fortitude or stupendous foolishness to take the Yakuza head on, but that's exactly what the Japanese police did in Osaka this year.
It didn't quite go to plan. When they tried to break down the front door of the mafia headquarters, they ran headlong into a beefy wall of resistance. Unlike most underworld organisations, the Yakuza isn't afraid to advertise its location by setting up an office in the middle of town.
But these days many of these violent gangsters choose to wheel and deal in the more reputable field of real estate or finance to launder and make their money. But then along came the global financial crisis.
RAISUKE MIYAWAKI (translated): The Yakuza have a lot of money, and they've been investing in the real estate business and finance, so they've also been badly hit by the recent economic downturn.
MARK WILLACY: As a long time director of the Japanese Nation Police Agency's anti-underworld taskforce, Raisuke Miyawaki knows the Yakuza inside out.
RAISUKE MIYAWAKI (translated): The business that would be hit hardest is real estate and finance and the damage for the Yakuza would be big since they've been taking the lead in these sectors in Japan.
MARK WILLACY: But Raisuke Miyawaki believes some of the banks and stock companies still owe the Yakuza big from the days of the bubble economy of the 1980s and '90s; when they were all in bed together.
Nevertheless these Japanese gangsters may be softening their image and moving into new fields - less cutting off of fingers, more putting rings on them.
(music: Wedding March)
Raisuke Miyawaki says it's not only weddings the Yakuza are moving into. These days, not only can they take care of the living, but they can also arrange your journey into the next world, legitimately.
RAISUKE MIYAWAKI (translated): The funeral business does not cost that much and profit is relatively good. That's what they have their eye on. It's where they do business.
MARK WILLACY: The Yakuza have long been in the business of dispatching people; only in this world of economic crisis it seems better business to dispatch them down the aisle or in a comfortable coffin.
This is Mark Willacy in Tokyo for AM.
Hollander - February 13, 2009 01:10 PM (GMT)
Four leaders of the Sumiyoshi kai, among them the boss of the Kobayashi-kai (far right), founded by Kusuo Kobayashi in the 1960s.
Hollander - July 17, 2009 10:35 AM (GMT)
Even gangsters get the blues
As Japan's economy weakens, what are 80,000 gang members to do?
By Justin McCurry - Special to GlobalPost
Published: February 5, 2009 19:35 ET
Updated: February 24, 2009 10:37 ET-A
TOKYO Kazuhiro Yamada may describe himself as an innocent victim of the recession, but he is unlikely to win much sympathy.
Until he lost his job last year, Yamada, who prefers not to reveal his real name, was a member of the Sumiyoshi-kai, one of Japans most notorious crime syndicates, or yakuza.
As a mid-ranking mobster in greater Tokyo, his duties included shaking down businesses for protection money, chauffeuring his bosses around town and, on occasion, providing muscle when his gangs relations with associates threatened to turn sour.
Then, at short notice, he was unceremoniously dumped for not paying his dues, a non-negotiable condition of yakuza membership from the lowliest mobster to the men at the very apex of their criminal careers.
"Without the organization behind me, what am I supposed to do? Who's going to hire an old man covered in tattoos with a missing digit? he says of his vanished pinkie, hacked off in a ritual act of penitence for a past misdeed hed rather not discuss.
Im too old for construction work and I can't see how I can learn to type with only nine fingers, so that pretty much rules out a white-collar job.
Now only just the right side of 50, Yamada is just one of countless gang members feeling the pinch from the global economic downturn and stock market collapse.
After a year in which the Nikkei index shed almost 50 percent and Japan officially entered recession, the yakuza, like other market players, can only look on in horror as the worlds second-biggest economy teeters on the brink of meltdown.
In better times, yakuza foot soldiers bankrolled their hedonism expensive cars, clothes and women with a seemingly endless supply of profits from traditional cash cows such as gambling, prostitution, drugs, loan sharking and protection rackets.
It was a time when gangs proudly displayed their insignia at the entrance of their headquarters, swapped information with detectives over drinks in classy hostess bars and dined with senior politicians and wealthy construction magnates.
The legal squeeze began in 1992 with the introduction of the toughest anti-yakuza laws to date, forcing them to conceal their telltale tattoos and swap their gaudy suits for bespoke Italian cloth, as organised crime went white collar.
The change in tactics paid off, but only as long as the economy stayed on its upward trajectory after the lean years of the lost decade of 1990s recession.
To stock price manipulation and property sales the yakuza have added wedding and funeral services, talent agencies, and even bakeries and flower shops to its portfolio. It is not for nothing that the Yamaguchi-gumi, by far the biggest of Japans 27 gangs, is known as a Wal-Mart of the yakuza.
Last year the National Police Agency [NPA], spooked by organised crimes assault on the property and securities markets, warned that its involvement in the regular economy was disease that will shake the foundations of the economy.
Despite promises to take on the mob, the police have yet to make inroads into organized crime. Yakuza membership is not illegal and, unlike their FBI counterparts, Japanese investigators are banned from using wiretapping, witness protection and other tools that would bring the arrests they crave.
According to the NPA Japan is home to 80,000 gangsters, about half of whom belong to the Yamaguchi-gumi, with footholds in dozens of businesses in Japan and the United States, and increasingly, Russia and China.
Takashi Kadokura, the author of two popular books on Japans underground economy, estimates the yakuzas illegal income amounts to as much as 1.6 trillion yen ($17.5 billion) a year. Its financial chicanery is so broad and complex that the size of its legal income will forever be a mystery.
The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission has identified more than 50 listed firms with links to organized crime, and the Tokyo metropolitan police has listed about 1,000 yakuza front companies, about 20 percent of them involving real estate.
The public and police remained largely tolerant of the yakuza, which reciprocated by keeping violence to a minimum and ensuring civilians did not become the victims of stray bullets.
But now fears are growing that intense competition for dwindling financial spoils will spark an escalation of the violence.
The past two years have seen several shootings in Tokyo as the Yamaguchi-gumi, keen to expand beyond its western Japan base, attempts to seize control of lucrative parts of the capital such as Akasaka and Roppongi.
The recession affects the yakuza just like everyone else, says Jake Adelstein, an underworld authority and former crime reporter for the Japanese daily the Yomiuri Shimbun. As the economy worsens the spoils will diminish, gang membership will fall and more squabbles and fights will break out.
They are losing investments in real estate and that means losing jobs as well. The consolidation of businesses through mergers and acquisitions is also freezing them out. Just like the banks, they have loaned money to people who can no longer afford to pay them back.
Denied their usual incomes, many gangsters are turning to the state for help. Last month officials admitted that hard-up yakuza members had claimed millions of dollars in unemployment and other benefits by producing fake letters of excommunication from their gang bosses.
Yamada, who is selling off his possessions to make ends meet, says he will soon be joining the ranks of the yakuza dispossessed.
I'm going to go on welfare and then I don't know what I'm going to do, he says. To be a yakuza used to be a job for life, but now we're being treated like temporary workers or salesmen. You dont sell enough and its goodbye.
This is how it is now in the organization. The people at the top live well but everyone else is barely able to make a living. Its the American business model transplanted to Japan
and it sucks.