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Tokyo cops: 8 yakuza suspected in extortion of Ginza clubs

Hisachi Umeki
Hisachi Umeki of the Yamaguchi-gumi (TBS News)

TOKYO (TR) – As part of a crackdown on organized crime, investigative sources with the Tokyo Metropolitan Police on Tuesday revealed that eight members of the Yamaguchi-gumi have been arrested over the alleged extortion of entertainment establishments in Chuo Ward, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (June 13).

Beginning in 2013, Hisachi Umeki, the 54-year-old boss of the Kokusui-kai, a third-tier gang of the Yamaguchi-gumi, and seven other gang members, are alleged to have demanded payment of around 50,000 yen per month for mikajimeryo — or “protection money” — from a few dozen high-end clubs and bars in the ritzy Ginza area.

“I don’t know what this is about, so I have nothing to say,” the suspect is quoted by TBS News (June 13).

Since 2009, the suspects are believed to have collected at least 50 million yen from several clubs in the area.

The collection of mikajimeryo is prohibited under the Anti-Organized Crime Law of 1991. However, the practice is still very common with payments made under the table. Every year, the National Public Safety Commission issues orders to cease the practice in about 500 cases across the nation, according to the Asahi Shimbun (June 13).

There are approximately 2,000 bars, restaurants and clubs in the Ginza area. At the end of last year, police began an investigation into the collection of mikajimeryo by gangsters. It was revealed that the going rate for about 50 establishments was around 50,000 yen per month. Additionally, businesses pay street touts between 5,000 and 10,000 yen per recruited customer.