TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Friday evening initiated a patrol through Tokyo’s largest red-light district to promote the exclusion of organized crime from the area during what is traditionally a busy period of the year, reports TBS News (Dec. 11).
A team of approximately 180 officers and local residents walked through the streets of Kabukicho of Shinjuku Ward wearing jackets and holding flags containing anti-gang slogans to warn shopkeepers against abetting criminal organizations, such as through the payment of mikajimeryo, or protection money.
“Without gangs in Kabukicho, women and children can enjoy the area with confidence,” said Hirofumi Naito, the head of the metropolitan police’s organized crime division, according to Fuji News Network (Dec. 12). “Let’s continue to make this an even more charming town.”
Of particular concern is that Kabukicho is expected to experience a surge in visitors over the next few weeks due to year-end parties.
Another worry is the recent split of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest gang, and the formation of a rival criminal syndicate, the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi. Since the dissolution, law enforcement has been actively gathering intelligence about any potential conflicts between the two gangs.