Tokyo Metropolitan Police tightening up investigation of Goto Tadamasa, former yakuza boss, on suspicion of murder; shots fired into his building
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department is tightening up their investigation of former mob boss Goto Tadasmasa on charges of murder. Goto Tadamasa was the head of the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi (山口組後藤組）until October 14th 2008, when he was forced out of Japan’s largest criminal organization, the Yamaguchi-gumi, which has 39,000 members. In his prime, he controlled over a thousand gangsters and affiliates, one hundred front companies and assets of over a billion dollars. However, his back-door deal with the FBI to get a liver transplant at UCLA, along with liver transplants for three other yakuza, his insubordination, and his habit of condoning and/or ordering attacks on innocent civilians resulted in the organization council deciding to force him into retirement.
In December of 2010, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police (TMPD) arrested a former member of the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi (Nobuyuki Yamamoto) for killing a real estate consultant, Kazuoki Nozaki, in a dispute over a valuable building in Shibuya ward. The murder took place in 2006. A Goto-gumi front company was laying claim to the building and Nozaki-san was an obstacle in their plans. He was stabbed to death on the streets of Minato-ward. Yamamoto has denied receiving direct orders from Goto Tadamasa, his former gang-boss. An international arrest warrant for the superior of Nobuyuki Yamamoto was issued after Yamamoto’s arrest, a man known as Kondo Takashi (近藤毅) also a former Goto-gumi member. The TMPD felt they had a strong case on circumstantial evidence alone that Goto had ordered the hit but no direct testimony from someone receiving orders. Kondo, they felt, was the key to making their case.
Nobuyuki Yamamoto was convicted of murder on May 14th and sentenced to 13 years of hard labor, as requested by the prosecutor. The judged at sentencing noted, “It was an outrageous killing of an ordinary citizen.” According to the ruling, Yamamoto, who was a member of the Goto-gumi and under Goto’s supervision at the time of the crime, working with another Goto-gumi member Kondo Takashi (under international arrest warrant for the same murder), plotted together and on the evening of March 5th, 2006, they stabbed Mr. Nozaki to death on the streets of Minato-ward Aoyama area.
Kondo is unilikely to be prosecuted since he was assassinated in April before he could talk. 死人に口なし: Dead men have no mouths. (Harlan Ellison would appreciate this saying.)
on April 27th, 2011, a Thai tour guide was arrested after he confessed to shooting to death one Japanese tourist and wounding another while they were trekking in northern Thailand. The two “tourists” are former yakuza members.
Apichart Inphisak, the 41-year-old guide, was arrested Tuesday at a friend’s house 30 kilometers from Chiang Rai. The pistol he said he used to shoot the two Japanese was confiscated, according to local Thai press sources. Japanese police sources assert that the two Japanese individuals were both members of the Yamaguchi-gumi Goto-gumi. One of the individuals is believed to have involved in the murder of real estate agent, Nozaki Kazuoki, in 2006.
On conditions of anonymity, Japanese police sources said, “It’s clear that the two were assassinated on orders of former members of the Goto-gumi, possibly Goto himself. This makes prosecuting the case or taking it all the way up to the top extremely difficult.” The Thai English Newspaper, the Nation reported one of the victims as being “Takashi Kodo, age 44, of the Sedu-kai gang in Tokyo”. In all likelihood, it is probably Kondo Takashi (近藤毅）of the Yamaguchi-gumi Yamaken-gumi Seiryukai. (山口組山健組誠竜会）which has 120 members. The Goto-gumi was closely tied to the Yamaken-gumi in the past. Other law enforcement sources place him as having been in the Yamaguchi-gumi Rachi-gumi Seiryukai (山口組良知組政竜会). Kondo was lured to Thailand from China where he had been in hiding. He allegedly was promised via a Goto emissary a new passport, a reward for keeping quiet, and a new life. He just ended up very dead. Police have confirmed that Kondo was the man killed. Local sources also note that the gun brought in by the Thai guide and the caliber of the bullet shot into Kondo don’t match. Further details are unavailable.
Earlier last month, the TMPD sent police officers to Thailand inquire into the death of Kondo and positively identify the body. The TMPD believe that Kondo may have been killed on Goto’s orders. The Tokyo Prosecutor’s Office is reconsidering charging Goto with murder based on circumstantial evidence alone and possibly newer evidence as well. Goto Tadamasa renounced his life of crime and became a Buddhist priest in 2009, and has been doing charitable acts. It may not be enough however to escape a lifetime of bad karma in the metaphysical world or justice in this world. Police sources note that Goto has been associating with a senior boss of the Kyushu Seido-kai (九州誠道会）and could possible be considering a return to organized crime.
Goto’s biography, 憚りながら (Habakarinagara), was issued last year by Takarajima Publications last year and was a huge best-seller. In the book, Goto brags of his political connections and shows no remorse for the attacks his own gang members made on the film director Itami Juzo in 1992. Itami had made a movie, The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion, depicting the yakuza as a cancer on society and this had offended Goto. In the book Goto denied ordering the director to be attacked but praised the guts and initiative of his underlings who slashed up the face of the film director. Former Goto-gumi members also assert that Goto was responsible for later having the director killed, by forcing him to jump off a roof-top at gun-point as to make it appear as if he committed suicide. Itami’s wife is still under police protection. Whether Goto will be arrested for the murder of Mr. Nozaki or Mr. Kondo is an unknown. What is definitely known is that he is a major suspect in both murders. He was kind enough to also mention me in the book with an implied death threat, punctuated by a note that he was laughing while saying it, making it hard to prosecute as a threat.
On June 16th, rough 8:40 am, someone fired a shotgun into the construction schedule sign posted at the building mentioned above. The police are investigating on weapons violations charges. Law enforcement believes that Goto would not likely shoot up what is now his own property and that it may be a sign of anger from other Yamaguchi-gumi members for orchestrating the death of his former subordinate–if he did so.
Japan’s Third Largest Crime Group, The Inagawa-kai (稲川会）splits into two faction; Gang war looms
The main members of the the Inagawa-kai Yamanashi-ikka, located in Kofu city, split apart from the parent organization the Inagawa-kai at the end of May and formed their own independent organization the Yamanashi Kyoyukai (山梨侠友会) creating chaos within the yakuza world. The Inagawa-kai has split into factions in the past over succession issues, but this split appears to also be a deeper rift than any previous one. The Inagawa-kai was once the most powerful crime group in the Kanto area. Goto Tadamasa, former gang boss, also got his start in the Inagawa-kai before jumping ship to the rising Yamaguchi-gumi. He was also involved in trying to arrange a liver transplant for Inagawa-leader, Inagawa Chihiro, at UCLA. The deal fell apart when Goto reneged on his promises to the FBI to give them all the information he promised.
The “rebel faction” left after complaining that the current Inagawa-kai ruling commission has no respect for gang tradition and has failed to honor the ancestors of the organization. The current leadership of the Inagawa-kai is backed by the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodokai (山口組弘道会). However, it is not clear whether the Kodo-kai is now backing the current leaders or the rebel faction. The newly formed Yamanashi Kyoyukai emblem greatly resembles the crest of the Yamaguchi-gumi.
The Yamanashi-ikka was very strong locally and in some senses the new independent organization has the sanction of the Yamanashi Prefecture Police Department. The Yamanashi PD have surrounded the offices of the Yamanashi Kyoukai to prevent any gang attacks from the Inagawa-kai or their allies which would put the Yamanashi Kyoyukai back under Inagawa-kai control. In fact, in order to ensure there is no bloodshed, the Yamanashi Police Department is asking the rebel gangsters to stay inside their compound and on at least one occasion, they even took food orders from the gang members and brought them box lunches. (Which the gangsters paid for).
The back-stabbing and violence associated with gang factional splits rivals that of anything seen in movies, like Kitano’s OUTRAGE. At this point in time, no blood has been spilled, but there are unconfirmed reports of hands grenades being thrown and armed gangsters sent from Tokyo hiding out in Kofu City, ready to cap a few members of the Yamanashi Kyoyukai. Unfortunately for them, outside gangsters are not as welcome as the local boys. No casualties have been reported yet. But it is hard to imagine that any yakuza group can sever ties without some blood spilling. The Yamanashi Police have put a protective guard around the splinter group and have strongly discouraged “outsiders” from retaking over the organization. Support your local yakuza seems to be the operating idea. It makes sense, if you understand the philosophy “better the enemy you known than the one you don’t know.” All the splinter group members have been ex-communicated from the Inagawa-kai.