• Kyodo

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A copy of a list of gangsters’ names drawn up by the Hokkaido Prefectural Police has been leaked, possibly by parties within the police force, it was learned Saturday.

Prefectural police said there was no indication that the list had ever been stolen or lost and they are investigating the case as suspected violation of the Local Public Service Law, which requires that civil servants treat information gained through their work as confidential.

According to the Hokkaido police, the list was compiled by the force’s organized crime division using data gathered from police stations across Hokkaido.

Copies of the list — roughly 1,250 pages thick — were kept at every Hokkaido police station, officials said. It was updated every few years, with the old versions being collected by the prefectural force and destroyed.

The list that was released was compiled five or six years ago and police officials said it is likely that it was a photocopy of an original list.

The complete original included data on roughly 4,500 individuals affiliated with 212 gangster groups either based in Hokkaido or with a chapter there. Police say they are still not sure how much of the information has become more widely available since the list was leaked.

The documents include details of the organizational structure of the gangs, as well as their sources of funding. Senior gang members were identified, along with their photographs, and the criminal records and residences of all gang members were on the list.

Hokkaido police were first made aware of the leak three or four weeks ago, when they received an anonymous phone call saying the confidential data had been released. They also received a portion of the copied list as proof.

Kozo Kumon, head of the Hokkaido police supervisory office, said the incident is deeply regrettable and pledged that a thorough investigation would be carried out.

Experts said the leak of the list, which would show at a glance how closely the police follow the gangster groups, could adversely affect investigations into criminal organizations.

If published, the list could also violate the rights of gang members who have since renounced the underworld but whose names are still on the list.

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