Sunday, March 24, 2013

Japan Finally Convicts Powerful Yakuza Crime Boss

Jake Adelstein at the Daily Beast offers a piece on the conviction of a Japanese yakuza crime boss.

On March 22nd, the second most powerful gangster in Japan, and for several years the de facto head of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest mafia group (39,000 members), was sentenced to six years in prison for extortion, according to the Japanese media and police sources. The Kyoto District Court handed down the verdict today on March 22. The defense is expected to appeal the sentence, which came years after an initial investigation initiated by the Kyoto Police in late 2009.

Kodo-kai faction and the second in command of the Yamaguchi-gumi itself, was convicted of extorting cash totaling over 40,000,000 yen (approximately $422,000) from a 67-year-old president of a construction industry in Kyoto under the pretext of "protection money."

Mr. Takayama has a reputation as being a cunning and ruthless leader. He is a well-known figure in the country and on the cover of numerous publications about the yakuza. He was injured in his youth, allegedly in a sword fight, which resulted in his right eye being half-closed and giving him a frightening appearance. While feared and respected by many in the underworld, his unusually antagonistic attitude towards the police gained him criticism within and outside his own group. For decades, the police and the yakuza had semi-cordial relationships; cops would visit yakuza at their offices and they would casually talk to each other. The 3rd Generation leader of the Yamaguchi-gumi once served as the Honorary Police Chief Of The Day in the Kobe area in the 60s. When yakuza were caught for a crime they committed, they would quickly confess. If there were a gang war, those who committed violent acts of retaliation in the conflict would turn themselves into the police. Under Mr. Takayama, Yamaguchi-gumi members became more adversarial towards law enforcement and would not generally allow detectives into their offices, nor cooperate with investigations, nor confess to crimes.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:

You can also read an earlier Jake Adelstein piece on Japanese organized crime via the below link: 

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