AICHI (TR) – A court has ordered the top boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group and an underling to pay more than 13 million yen to a former manager of a restaurant in Nagoya for extortion that extended for more than a decade, a ruling that is a nationwide first, reports the NHK (Mar. 31).
On Friday, the Nagoya District Court ordered top boss Shinobu Tsukasa, who is also known as Kenichi Shinoda, and a member of an affiliate gang to pay 13 million yen in compensation and repayment over the extortion of 10.85 million yen from the former manager between 1998 and 2010.
“Collection of the protection money is an illegal act,” said judge Shigeto Kashima, “and Shinoda had his underling carry out such fundraising activities.”
The manager had sought more than 17 million yen in the case.
The funds paid each month were deemed to be for the protection of the business — termed mikajimeryo — and ranged in value from 30,000 to 100,000 yen.
An organized crime group will typically fund its operation through the collection of such money, which is then funneled upward within the gang to elite members, a process known as jonokin.
According to a previous report, the protection money was paid to Yoshitake Matsuyama, the head of a criminal syndicate affiliated with the Kodo-kai, which is a subsidiary of the Yamaguchi-gumi.
In 2008, Matsuyama told the manager that failure to pay the money would result in an arson attack upon the restaurant. In 2012, he was prosecuted on charges of extortion.
Revisions made to the Anti-Organized Crime Law in 2008 allow civilians to seek damages from gang members for harmful incidents in civil court.
According to the lawyer for the plaintiff, this is the first case in which a gang boss has been held responsible over extortion carried out by an underling. “It is of great significance that the boss has been recognized as responsible,” the lawyer said. “It is necessary for people suffering from unfair demands to get the courage to stand up for themselves.”