HYOGO (TR) – Hyogo Prefectural Police have launched a manhunt after a shooting incident in Kobe on Tuesday left a man believed to be a bodyguard of the boss of a rival gang to the Yamaguchi-gumi dead, likely the result of a yakuza feud, reports NHK (Sept. 12).
At just past 10:00 a.m., a vehicle containing Yuhiro Kusumoto, a 44-year-old member of the Ninkyo Yamaguchi-gumi, was ambushed by a gunman on a road in Nagata Ward.
The bodyguard was struck by at least one bullet in the head. He was later confirmed dead about hour later at a nearby hospital, police said.
The alleged shooter fled the scene after the incident. Believed to be in his 40s or 50s, his whereabouts are sought by police.
Police believe the incident is the result of a gang feud that dates back to 2015, when the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi formed after the split of the Yamaguchi-gumi.
In April, several gangs left the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi due to dissatisfaction with internal operations on the part of upper-level management. The dissenting gangs subsequently formed the Ninkyo Dantai Yamaguchi-gumi (whose name has since been shorted to not include “Dantai”). The gang is headed by Yoshinori Oda.
The incident on Tuesday took place after three vehicles carrying members of the Ninkyo Yamaguchi-gumi exited the residence of Oda. A fourth vehicle containing the alleged shooter then blocked the path of the convoy.
According to an eyewitness, at least two shots were heard. It is believed that Oda, who was inside one of the first three vehicles, was the real target of the shooting, police said.