The Kobe District Court delivered its verdict for defendant Shinichi Kobayashi, 50, who was charged with assault for pepper-spraying Yamaguchi-gumi members in Chuo Ward, Kobe, in March, the Sankei Shimbun reports (May 18).
Judge Naoki Kuga sentenced Kobayashi to 12 months in prison and four years of probation for “brawling in broad daylight on a public road. The impact on society cannot be underestimated.”
The prosecution was seeking a prison term of 18 months.
The judge pointed out that ever since the Yamaguchi-gumi split up last August, Kobayashi had been trying to convince a gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi called the Kishimoto-gumi to defect to the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi side.
The court recognized that the pepper-spraying resulted from the pursuit of Yamaguchi-gumi vehicles that were seen emerging from Kishimoto-gumi territory, and other provocative actions.
According to the ruling, Kobayashi pepper-sprayed the faces and other areas of Yamaguchi-gumi members on Warizuka Road on March 5 at around 11:40 a.m.