On Wednesday, the city completed the 130-million-yen purchase of the 2,000-square-meter property and building that formerly belonged to the Tokyo-based Matsuba-kai.
“For the safety and security of residents, this is great news,” said mayor Shinichi Aida at a press conference. “Any anxiety can now be wiped away.”
The handover of the building — known as the Matsuba-kai Kaikan — is the result of a three-year effort by local citizens.
Four months after construction of the compound was finalized in August of 2012, residents presented a petition with 69,547 signatures that sought the removal of the gang from the premises, according to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Feb. 25).
Protests followed. Beginning in February of last year, approximately 150 citizens gathered each month outside of the concrete concrete-walled compound in silent objection to the gang’s presence.
In December of last year, the Tokyo High Court mediated an agreement whereby the gang would vacate the premises if the construction costs of the building (approximately 120 million yen) and legal fees were paid by the city. The city council then approved a supplementary budget that would allow for the purchase.
The finalization of the payment and the receiving of the key to the building came two days before a court-mandated deadline.