Police crackdown averts all-out ‘yakuza war’ in Japan

The Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi broke away from the Yamaguchi-gumi in August of last year, sparking fears of a repeat of the bloodshed that accompanied a similar split in 1984 in Japan’s biggest crime organisation, known as yakuza.

Those clashes left 25 dead, including a police officer, and 70 more injured in a series of incidents. The injured included passersby caught up in the violence.

Earlier this year there were reports that the price of an illegal handgun had risen sharply, prompting the National Police Agency to warn that the rival gangs were in a “state of all-out war.”

Fears rose on May 31, when Tadashi Takagi, a senior member of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi was shot dead in the parking lot of the apartment where he lived with his family in the city of Okayama, central Japan.

Another member of the gang, named as 64-year-old Tatsuo Saiki, was shot dead in Nagoya on July 15, while there have been numerous reports of lorries being rammed into offices operated by the rival groups.

Police have managed to avoid the clashes escalating, however, by using the fine print in new laws designed to fight organised crime, the Asahi newspaper reported. These include banning gatherings of five people or more or visiting offices that belong to gangs.

The crackdown has permitted the police to detain 623 members of the Yamaguchi-gumi and further 353 members of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.

Japanese police have arrested 976 members of yakuza criminal gangs since early March, often over minor infractions, to head off a brewing “all-out war” between Japan’s largest crime syndicate and a splinter faction. (telegraph.co.uk)

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