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Police warn about ‘protection money’ after yakuza conflict in Uguisudani

TOKYO (TR) – Following the arrest of a member of criminal syndicate over the alleged assault of a member of rival gang in the Uguisudani area of Taito Ward last year, police on Tuesday cautioned businesses about aiding such syndicates, reports TBS News (Apr. 24).

About 30 officers visited various businesses near JR Uguisudani Station to caution them about the payment of mikajimeryo — or “protection money” — to yakuza groups. “If a yakuza member comes [to your business], please contact the Uguisudani Police Station,” one officer told a proprietor.

The incident in question took place at around 10 p.m. on October 16, when Masaki Fukuda, the 55-year-old chairman of a syndicate affiliated with the Kanto Sekine-gumi, and two other men allegedly beat the face and abdomen of a member of the Sumiyoshi-kai, then 51, on a street.

“This is our turf,” one of the suspects reportedly said to the victim, who suffered unspecified light injuries in the incident, police said previously.

Masaki Fukuda of Kanto Sekine-gumi
Masaki Fukuda of Kanto Sekine-gumi (Twitter)

Commercial sex businesses

The area where the incident took place is near the station, whose neighboring areas has alleys of love hotels that are utilized by fuzoku, or commercial sex, businesses.

Police suspect that the incident took place following a dispute between the gangs over the collection of protection money from persons working in the sex industry.

During the visits on Tuesday, officers also handed out anti-yakuza placards to be posted in front of businesses. “This is the start of eliminating gangs,” the aforementioned officer said. “If you put this [placard] in place it will be helpful.”

The proprietor said that they had not witnessed any skirmishes in the area. “In the past, it was hard to comprehend what was going on at first glance,” the proprietor said.

The officer conceded that it can be challenging to sever ties with gangs. “But it is good to provide a tip even if it might be mere hearsay,” the officer said.