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Nara city councilman is former yakuza: report

Shukan Shincho Feb. 15
Shukan Shincho Feb. 15

NARA (TR) – A current city councilman for Kashiba City was once a member of a criminal syndicate, a weekly tabloid claims in its latest issue.

According to an article appearing in the February 15 issue of Shukan Shincho (Feb. 15), councilman Atsushi Suzuki of the Nippon Ishin no Kai party was once a member of the Kobe-based Yamaken-gumi, the key affiliate gang of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi.

A person connected to the municipal government tells the magazine, “Over this past New Year’s holiday, an a New Year’s card from an anonymous sender arrived at the office. There was a picture of him in the office of the gang.”

When interviewed by city officials, Suzuki denied the accusation. However, his former associates say he is not telling the truth.

“He started about 10 years ago,” assures a former gangster. “At that time, [the Yamaken-gumi] was a third-tier organization under the Yamaguchi-gumi.”

As evidence, the former gangster said there exists a letter for the excommunication of Suzuki, who also went by the family name Kono, from the gang in 2013.

Once a gangster, always a gangster — almost

According to a municipal ordinance, a gang member who leaves a criminal syndicate is still considered a gangster until a period of five years passes. Suzuki was elected in 2017, which represents a period of four years since he left the Yamaken-gumi.

When reached for comment by the magazine about the matter, the Nippon Ishin no Kai party had not responded as of February 9.

A reporter for the magazine accosted Suzuki outside of his residence. After the reporter asked about his background, the councilor requested that he contact his lawyer.