• Kyodo


The Kyoto District Court on Wednesday ordered three members of an underworld affiliate of the powerful crime syndicate Yamaguchi-gumi to pay some 80 million yen for mistakenly shooting to death a plainclothes policeman in 1995.

The court held the gangsters responsible for gunning down Sgt. Tsuyoshi Fujitake, 44, of the Shimogamo Police Station of Kyoto Prefectural Police, and ordered them to pay damages to Fujitake’s family. Two of the gangsters were responsible for shooting Fujitake, and the third is their immediate boss.

But the court turned down the family’s demand for compensation from Yoshinori Watanabe, head of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest yakuza syndicate.

Fujitake’s next of kin filed the suit in August 1998, demanding a total of 164 million yen in damages from the three and Watanabe.

“The court does not recognize the relevance of the case to the head of Yamaguchi-gumi, as the case was part of a conflict between the affiliate gangs,” presiding Judge Yasukazu Watanabe said.

The court added that an underworld syndicate head’s control over members of affiliated gangs is “indirect” and limited.

The two gangsters who gunned Fujitake down faced criminal charges in 1997 and were sentenced to 18-year and seven-year sentences.

According to Wednesday’s ruling, the gangsters shot Fujitake on Aug. 25, 1995, mistaking him for a mobster affiliated with the rival syndicate Aizu Kotetsu, while the victim was conducting surveillance on the rival gang.

Fujitake was in plainclothes at the time of his shooting in the city’s Sakyo Ward.

Lawyers for his family called the ruling “ridiculous” because it ignored the actual situation regarding the yakuza and said they will take the case to a higher court.

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