Japan braces for gang war: Yamaguchi Gumi

Published: August 28, 2015

Japan braces for gang war: Yamaguchi Gumi, Police in Japan are bracing for an outbreak of gang violence after reports that the Yamaguchi-gumi – the country’s biggest crime syndicate – is about to split.

Japanese media reports said the organisation had been hit by rows over members’ divided loyalties toward the gang’s boss, Shinobu Tsukasa.

The 73-year-old, who became Japan’s most powerful mafia don in 2005, has reportedly angered affiliated gangs by giving preferential treatment to certain members and spearheading a push into new territory far from the gang’s traditional turf.

Tsukasa, who also goes by the name Kenichi Shinoda, was released from prison in April 2011 after serving a six-year sentence for firearms possession.

The Yamaguchi-gumi – whose members account for just under half of Japan’s gangsters – has been called the Walmart of the country’s underworld for its ability to see off opponents and generate huge earnings.

According to police sources quoted by the Sankei Shimbun newspaper, more than a dozen gangs with connections to the Yamaguchi-gumi decided to form a breakaway group in protest at the emphasis Tsukasa is placing on the Kodo-kai, a Nagoya-based affiliate he founded in 1984.

Under Tsukasa, the Kodo-kai has been expanding its influence in Tokyo and other parts of eastern Japan – a move that has angered members in the Yamaguchi-gumi’s traditional base in western Japan.

Police are preparing for a possible outbreak of violence between the new breakaway group and the 20 organisations that remain loyal to Tsukasa, Japanese media said.


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