KYOTO (TR) – The Kyoto District Court on Friday handed down a prison sentence of six years to Kiyoshi Takayama, 65, the second-highest member of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime organization, for extortion of a construction company employee, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 22).
Presiding judge Akihiro Ogura relied on the deposition of the 67-year-old victim and that of subordinate gang members, who were utilized to perform a specific type of extortion known as mikajimeryo, or the collection of so-called “protection money,” in coming to the decision.
The prosecutor claimed Takayama and gang member Yoshiyuki Takayama, who is now under prosecution on the same charges and heads the Yamaguchi-gumi affiliated Oumi-ikka syndicate, conspired to blackmail the construction industry employee out of 40 million yen during three meetings at a hotel in Kyoto in 2005 and 2006.
During the trial, Takayama, who is also the chairman of the Kodo-kai, a second-tier organization of the Yamaguchi-gumi, maintained his innocence. He raised doubt about the legitimacy of the testimony. “These are trumped-up charges, making the claims groundless,” said the defense.
The prosecution countered by saying that it was impossible for the extortion to have taken place without Takayama’s consent.
“It was a case of acquiring income as part of a systematic means to expand one’s sphere of influence,” said the prosecution, which was seeking the maximum sentence of 10 years.
The Yamaguchi-gumi is Japan’s largest gang. Based in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, the group has roughly 27,700 members, according to report by the National Police Agency from the end of 2012.