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Yakuza nabbed in attempted extortion of stallholder at Sumida fireworks event

Asakusa Police Station
Officers from the Asakusa Police Station arrested a gang member for attempting to extort a stall holder at the Sumida River Fireworks Festival in July (TV Asahi)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested an organized crime member in the alleged attempted extortion of a stallholder at the Sumida River Fireworks Festival in July, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (Sept. 25).

On July 29, Yutaka Tokuda, a 52-year-old upper-level member of a gang affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai, and two other persons allegedly threatened an Indian boy, then 18, who had set up a stall for the festival on a road in Taito Ward.

“I am the boss of this area,” Tokuda reportedly said to the boy. “If you set up trade here, then you pay me.”

Tokuda, who has been accused of attempted extortion, denies the allegations, telling the Asakusa Police Station that a demand for money was not made.

Police are now investigating whether Tokuda made requests for mikajimeryo — or “protection money” — from other stallholders at the event.