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Osaka underground: Dozens of bar employees suspected in assault, extortion incidents

OSAKA (TR) – Dating back to last year, dozens of former members of a delinquent organization that operated a number of bars in Osaka City have been accused for such crimes as assault and extortion.

Further, Osaka Prefectural Police suspect the organization, known as the Abyss Group, funded organized crime, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Dec. 13).

On August 15, Sora Iwao, then 19, and Naoto Noguchi, 20, were among the roughly 20 persons who wielded metal bats and tear gas in the attack of three male employees of a rival bar during a confrontation on a road in Chuo Ward.

One of victims suffered broken bones and a subarachnoid hemorrhage. His injuries required three months to heal, the Minami Police Station said.


Abyss Group is classified as hangure, an amalgamation of han (half) and gureru (to be delinquent). According to police, the organization had about 120 member prior to its dissolution on November 15.

Members of the organization were former members of bosozoku motorcycle gangs or street scouts for the fuzoku (commercial sex) industry. Iwao was the leader of the organization, while Noguchi was second in command.

Iwao, who was accused of inflicting injury in the assault case, denies the allegations. “I do not know of Abyss Group,” the suspect was quoted by police. Meanwhile, Noguchi claimed he was following orders from Iwao. “I had no choice but to do it,” the suspect said.

The group managed 17 so-called “girl’s bar” establishments, which are licensed for drinking but offer services nearly equivalent to that of an adult-entertainment club, police said.

Sora Iwao and Naoto Noguchi
Sora Iwao (left) and Naoto Noguchi (Twitter)


Since September of last year, police received 120 reports of bottakuri incidents, which involve the padding of bills, at bars in the Minami entertainment area, the former stronghold of the Abyss Group.

During the investigation into the bottakuri incidents, Noguchi admitted involvement in the assault case. Thus far, police have accused 18 members of the group in 34 bill-padding incidents.

In once case, two members attempted to use the credit card of a male customer to buy a necklace. In carrying out the crime, the pair told the victim that he “wasn’t paying the bill fast enough.” In another, members confined and assaulted a male customer in demanding payment of a bill of 650,000 yen in June.

Police have sent a total of 55 former members of Abyss Group, aged between 15 and 32, to prosecutors for the various crimes. While operating, the bars within the organization accumulated roughly 50 million yen in revenue.

The National Police Police Agency considers the Abyss Group as “quasi-yakuza,” a designation that also applies to bosozoku groups. Police began using the designation in 2013 to better reflect the activities of such groups.

During questioning of former members of Abyss Group, upper level members said that Iwao was sending between 300,000 and 500,000 yen per month to the Ninkyo Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. The practice follows that carried out in the criminal underworld, whereby such funds are referred to as jonokin (or money moved upward).