Japan Strengthening Fight Against Criminal Gangs

Japans National Policy Agency said Thursday that it will strengthen its fight against new gangs accused of repeatedly committing criminal activities such as assault and remittance fraud.    

The NPA will study the networks and funding sources of such quasi-crime syndicates as some are believed to have strong connections with yakuza organized crime.   

The effort will initially target dozens of former members of a biker gang known as Kanto Rengo and hundreds of members of the Dragon, a group composed of children and grandchildren of Japanese orphans left behind in China after World War II.

Read the rest of the story: Japan to Strengthen Fight against New Criminal Gangs.

Ex-Yamaguchi-gumi gang member arrested for defrauding construction company

Police in Kobe on Thursday arrested ex-Yamaguchi-gumi gang member Toshiyuki Fukai, 54, and two accomplices for allegedly defrauding a construction company of cash in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake.

According to police, the three men posed as representatives of a large Tohoku construction contractor in April 2011, immediately following the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Under that guise, they allegedly offered debris clearance work to an Osaka construction company president whom they met in a cafe.

TBS reported that the president paid a cash deposit of 10 million yen to secure the contract and assembled a team of 30 to carry out the job. However, the work never materialized and the construction company reported the meeting to the police.

Police say that the defrauded company suffered financial troubles due to the incident and is no longer operating. Fukai, a former member of the upper echelons of the Yamaguchi-gumi branch of the yakuza, and his two accomplices, have reportedly denied the charges.


Japan’s No. 2 Mobster Gets Bail Set at $19 Million

The number-two man in Japans biggest yakuza group will be released on 1.5 billion yen $19 million bail ahead of his trial for extortion, a court decided Tuesday.

Kiyoshi Takayama, 64, second in command of the Yamaguchi-gumi, a vast organised crime syndicate, has been in jail accused of having extorted some 40 million yen from a constructor in 2005 and 2006, a charge that he had denied in the Kyoto District Court, a court spokesman said.Takayama is in hospital due to poor health, local media reports said.

Like the Italian mafia or Chinese triads, the yakuza engages in activities from gambling, drugs and prostitution to loan sharking, protection rackets, white-collar crime and business conducted through front companies.

Read the rest of the story: Japans No. 2 mobster to be freed on $19 mn bail.


U.S. Penalizes the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s Largest Organized-Crime Group

The Treasury Department has imposed sanctions on Japan’s biggest yakuza group, an organized-crime syndicate that operates with relative impunity there and whose far-ranging criminal activity has become a significant concern in Washington.

In an announcement on Thursday, the department said it would freeze the American-based assets of the group, the Yamaguchi-gumi, and two of its leaders. It will also bar any transactions between Americans and members of the penalized crime syndicate. Yakuza have been tied to drug trafficking and other crimes in the United States, with particular prominence in Hawaii and California. The Treasury did not elaborate on the dollar value of United States-based accounts that might be frozen under the new sanctions.

Read the rest of the story: U.S. Penalizes Japan’s Largest Organized-Crime Group.

Japan’s yakuza head released

The head of Japan’s largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi- gumi, was released from a Tokyo prison Saturday after doing time since December 2005. The release of Kenichi Shinoda, 69, who also passes as Shinobu Tsukasa, is prompting police to brace for aggressive activities by the syndicate, which they say has 34,900 members nationwide or 44 percent of the entire "yakuza" gang members.

Shinoda was arrested in 1997 on suspicion of being involved in the possession of a gun by a member of a gang under his control, and was promoted to the sixth boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi in August 2005 while he was on bail.

Read the rest of the story: Japan’s yakuza head released.



Two Sumo Stable Masters gave Organized Crime Syndicates Tournament Tickets

Two sumo stable masters have been found to have given senior members of an organized crime group tickets for a tournament last year, prompting the sport’s government body to move toward taking disciplinary steps, police and sumo officials said Tuesday.

Aichi police said dozens of members of the group, Kodokai, watched matches during the 15-day Nagoya Grand Sumo Tournament last July from front-row seats, for which tickets are normally allocated to major supporters who have made significant monetary contributions to the Japan Sumo Association.

The revelation came during recent questioning of the stable masters, during which they said they had “never imagined the tickets would go into the hands of organized crime,” according to the police.

Read the rest of the story: Gangsters watched sumo with tickets linked to stable masters