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Asahi Shimbun refuses to run ad for ‘Yamaguchi-gumi’ book

'The Complete Story behind the Split of the Yamaguchi-gumi'
‘The Complete Story behind the Split of the Yamaguchi-gumi’

TOKYO (TR) – It was an offer they could refuse — but it is also being called an infringement upon basic freedoms.

The publisher of a new book about the dissolution of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group is claiming that the Asahi Shimbun newspaper has backed out of an agreement to print an advertisement due to the ongoing conflict enveloping the gang, according to news site J-Cast (Dec. 14).

On December 11, the Asahi Shimbun Company, which publishes the newspaper, told publisher Takarajimasha that it was not running an advertisement for ‘The Complete Story behind the Split of the Yamaguchi-gumi.’

Released on December 4, the book is authored by five writers, including Tomohiko Suzuki and Kensuke Nishioka. According to the publisher, arrangements were made for the advertisement to appear in the Asahi Shimbun on December 13 to coincide with the gang’s annual holding of its koto hajime shiki ritual to honor the new year.

“In taking anti-social forces into consideration, it is difficult to publish (the advertisement) due to the Yamaguchi-gumi’s current state as a gang in conflict,” a representative of the newspaper said, according to Takarajimasha.

In September, a power struggle lead to the dissolution of the Yamaguchi-gumi, which is Japan’s largest gamg, and the formation of a rival syndicate, the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi. Since then, law enforcement has been taking measures to mitigate potentially violent conflicts between the two gangs.

Since the split, the Asahi Shimbun has not distanced itself from the story, having provided articles that included commentary from investigators and former gangsters.

As a result, the writers of the book have taken to Twitter to lodge complaints against the paper. “Asahi Shimbun, you are continuing to deteriorate,” wrote Nishioka. “What you’ve done this time is an act of suicide by obstructing freedom of expression and the press.”

When reached for comment by J-Cast, a representative of the paper said that it would not disclose information on the matter since it is business-related.