Yamaguchi-gumi Splits — Japan Braces For Gang Wars As Factions Will Inevitably Battle For Supremacy

As reports of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest organized crime syndicate, splitting have begun to trickle in, the country’s law enforcement is gearing up for what might be one of the bloodiest battles for supremacy and business.

Japan’s police have no choice but to gear up as best as they can for the gang wars that are bound to break out any time as multiple factions of the dreaded Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate begin to choose sides. Multiple Japanese media outlets have indicated that the organization has been severely and rather irreparably hit by infighting about the loyalties toward the gang’s boss, Shinobu Tsukasa.

According to police sources, the Yamaguchi-gumi severed ties with 13 affiliated groups that did not send representatives to the talks or had indicated they wanted out, reported the Asahi Shimbun. What’s shocking is that, of the 72 directly affiliated gang leaders who head their own crime groups, those banished are some of the oldest, largest, and once considered fiercely loyal to the largest crime cartel in Japan. Some of the notable mentions that faced banishment include Yamaken-gumi, which has about 2,000 members; the Takumi-gumi; and the Kyoyu-kai. All these gangs are headquartered in Kansai, reported the Daily Beast.

One of the issues that were at the core of the discontent was the discussion pertaining to the shifting of the Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters from Kobe to Nagoya. Many gangs strongly opposed this move which was interpreted as a challenge to the way the hugely successful business was functioning. Additionally, 73-year-old Tsukasa, who became Japan’s most powerful mafia don in 2005, invited the ire of affiliated gangs allegedly by extending special treatment, privileges, and concessions to certain members. Reports indicate Tsukasa has been excessively siding with Kodo-kai, a Nagoya-based affiliate he founded in 1984, reported MSN.

The Yamaguchi-gumi was once, and still is, one of the most dangerous and potent organized crime syndicates in Japan. However, the split is expected to be formalized at a gathering of senior crime bosses early next month. Though the separation of gang members appears to be amicable, Japan’s police are quite aware how quickly the peace can crumble.

Over the years, Japan’s police and government devised clever techniques that humiliated legitimate businesses and pressurized them into shunning the Yamaguchi-gumi. The government tries hard at exposing the names of businesses that knowingly do business with the Yakuza and repeat offenders face fines of up to 500,000 yen, while their owners or bosses face jail-time.

Japan’s rising economy is an irresistible attraction to the Yamaguchi-gumi, and as friends-turned-rivals try to grab as much turf as possible, there will undoubtedly be bloodshed soon, fear the cops.

[Image Credit | Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Getty Images]