Former Sumiyoshi-kai member arrested for extortion, commented on Juzo Itami beating

Minbo no Onna (The Extortion Lady)
‘Minbo no Onna (The Extortion Lady)’

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday arrested Soichi Konoike, 56, a former member of the Sumiyoshi-kai organized crime group, for attempted extortion of mobile communications company NTT DoCoMo, reports Sankei Shimbun (Dec. 9).

According to the Osaki Police Station, Konoike arrived at the NTT Group offices in Tokyo’s Chiyoda Ward at the end of September and met with company employees of NTT DoCoMo for two hours. During that time, the suspect suggested that in exchange for not disclosing sensitive information about the firm a cash payment would be required. The former gangster did not provide details on the contents of the information. The NTT Group then consulted with police authorities.

Late last year, Konoike initially visited the NTT Group offices to falsely complain that he was involuntarily asked to engage in a contract for an Internet provider service.

Investigators are currently examining the background as to why NTT DoCoMo was a target of the attempted extortion.

In 1992, Konoike famously appeared on a television program and commented on the film “Minbo no Onna” (The Extortion Lady) by direct Juzo Itami, whose satire provides a highly negative image of gangsters. The film unspooled on May 22. One week later, members of the Goto-gumi crime family brutally beat Itami in a parking garage.

“If the attackers were in fact gangsters, they would have beaten him much more severely, perhaps even killing him or at least making him apologize for the film,” said Konoike on the program.

One week after that appearance, Konoike was the victim of a drive-by shooting in Kamogawa City, Chiba Prefecture, in which he was struck in the left arm by a bullet from a pistol while walking on a road.

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