Police obtained an arrest warrant Friday for the chairman of Sumiyoshi-kai, one of Japan’s largest yakuza gangs, on suspicion of conspiring with a Tokyo realtor to evade a creditors’ asset seizure, police officials said.

The Metropolitan Police Department has begun its hunt for 57-year-old Hareaki Fukuda of Tokyo’s Nerima Ward, who in 1998 became chairman of the gang.

Sumiyoshi-kai has some 10,000 members across Japan.

Officers on Friday arrested five people in relation to the case. They include 67-year-old Kitaro Watanabe, president of Azabu Tatemono, a Tokyo-based real estate firm, on suspicion of obstructing the seizure and issuing false statements in official documents.

The five allegedly conspired to submit the documents to authorities and establish false mortgages worth 530 million yen on land and premises in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture.

Azabu Tatemono is known as a major borrower from the “jusen” housing loan companies that went bankrupt under the weight of bad real estate loans racked up during the bubble economy in the late 1980s.

In March 1998, the Tokyo District Court sentenced Watanabe to two years in prison for obstructing the compulsory seizure of the firm’s assets in a separate case.

In response to Watanabe’s appeal, the Tokyo High Court overturned the district court ruling in December 1998.

It sentenced him a two-year prison term suspended for four years.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.