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Tokyo police send 1,000 officers to shareholder meetings to curb extortion

Yusuke Okano
Yusuke Okano told officers: “We would like you to take prompt action to apprehend any offender” (TV Asahi)

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police will lend support to companies holding annual shareholder meetings in an effort to curb the activities of extortionists, reports Nippon News Network (June 29).

On Thursday, the department will dispatch about 1,000 officers to an estimated 340 shareholder meetings scheduled to be held in the capital on Thursday to restrict the activities of persons known as sokaiya, who are specialized racketeers that extort money through blackmail schemes.

“With the annual meeting of shareholders being a company’s greatest decision-making tool, it is the most important event for companies,” said Yusuku Okano, a section manager from an anti-organized crime division of the department, told a meeting attended by officers.

According to police, there are about 230 persons actively operating as sokaiya nationwide, with about 170 of them operating in Tokyo.

A total of 1,200 companies located in the metropolis hold their annual shareholder meetings in June. Police expect to dispatch about 3,000 officers to those meetings over that period.

Okano instructed officers to maintain a sense of responsibility in strictly monitoring the meetings. “If you you witness obviously illegal acts — not just due to sokaiya, but also incidents of violence causing injury or damage to equipment — we would like you to take prompt action to apprehend any offender and not overlook [the infraction],” the manager said, according to Nippon News Network (June 29).