Presiding judge Akihiro Ogura relied on the deposition of the 67-year-old victim and that of subordinate gang members, who were utilized to perform a specific type of extortion known as mikajimeryo, or the collection of protection money, in coming to the decision.
The prosecutor claimed Takayama and gang member Yoshiyuki Takayama, who is now under prosecution on the same charges and heads the Yamaguchi-gumi affiliated Oumi-ikka crime family, conspired to blackmail the construction industry employee out of 40 million yen during three meetings at a hotel in Kyoto in 2005 and 2006.
During the trial, Takayama, who is the chairman of the Kodo-kai, a secondary organization of the Yamaguchi-gumi, maintained his innocence. He raised doubt about the legitimacy of the testimony. “These are trumped-up charges, making the claims groundless,” said the defense.
The prosecution countered by saying that it was impossible for the extortion to have taken place without Takayama’s consent.
“It was a case of acquiring income as part of a systematic means to expand one’s sphere of influence,” said the prosecution, which was seeking the maximum sentence of 10 years.
The Yamaguchi-gumi is Japan’s largest gang. Based in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, the group has roughly 27,700 members, according to report by the National Police Agency from the end of 2012.