Potential gang wars have placed a spirit of impending doom over the nation of Japan. The Yamaguchi-gumi, the largest Japanese crime syndicate, or “Yakuza” group, has been divided against itself after meetings in the city of Kobe, according to various rumors.
As the L.A. Times reports, police are remaining extremely vigilant, due to concerns that an opposing faction of the criminal entity known as the Yamaken-gumi has become excessively dissatisfied with how leadership posts have been divided. Allegiance to the 73-year-old Yamaguchi-gumi boss Shinobu Tsukasa is not consistent across the entire group, which has caused internal strife.
The crime syndicate runs a number of legitimate businesses – or at least semi-legitimate business – but also engages in illicit acts such as fraud and extortion. Yamaguchi-gumi also allegedly facilitates prostitution operations, human and weapons trafficking, and money laundering.
The US Treasury Department noted Yamaguchi-gumi by name in April, saying, “Among other criminal activities, the Kodo-kai has conducted extortion and engaged in bribery on behalf of the Yamaguchi-gumi and has gained prominence in part for its financial muscle.” The crime syndicate is wanted for transcontinental crimes which could result in the seizure of its assets, among other penalties.
Among other criminal activities, the Kodo-kai has conducted extortion and engaged in bribery on behalf of the Yamaguchi-gumi and has gained prominence in part for its financial muscle.
This mafia-style gang, noted in The Guardian under the nickname “the Walmart of [Japan’s] underworld,” has reportedly frustrated some of its gang affiliates by attempting to extend its geographic territory of operation and giving some of its members preferential treatment.
Yamaguchi-gumi was originally started by a fisherman as a labor-supply service. These days, however, the Yamaken-gumi have split off and joined hands with other gang groups in the Kansai region. On Friday, many of the leaders of the dissenting factions were expelled from Yamaguchi-gumi. Many former Yamaguchi0gumi members have boycotted the meetings, making their intentions to split very clear.
Police in Japan are still on high alert, following the issue as they are able in an effort to curb any violence that could result from the broken relationships.