Japanese police made their third big arrest in as many weeks today, snagging a 27-year-old ex-Goto-gumi member on possible murder charges. Nobuyuki Yamamoto is suspected of stabbing to death Kazuoki Nozaki, an executive from a real estate management company, in Minato Ward in March 2006. The company had reportedly run into trouble with the Goto-gumi involving a piece of Shibuya property where one of the gang’s front companies was housed, and Nozaki has in charge of the court case. Police hope Yamamoto’s arrest will lead to details of involvement other Goto-gumi members had in the incident. (Japanese report here)
This is the third high-profile arrest police have carried out in the past month. On November 18, Yamaguchi-gumi second in command Kiyoshi Takayama was picked up in Kobe on charges of extortion. At the beginning of this month, the Yamaguchi-gumi’s number three bigwig Tadashi Irie was arrested in Osaka, under suspicion of having paid living expenses to the families of a Yamaguchi-gumi hitman. It’s common for organized crime groups to take care of the families of members serving time for gang related activity. It was also made illegal in 2008 to do so. The arrest of Takayama and Irie have dealt a serious blow to the Yamaguchi-gumi. If Takayama was the guts of the organization, Irie was the brains behind it–the successor to Masaru Takumi, who is considered the father of the economic yakuza. Irie is considered the brightest and most financially savvy of the gang leadership and his arrest will impact severely on the group.