• Kyodo


A mobster and a construction worker were stabbed to death and four other people were wounded early Monday in Mikumo, Mie Prefecture, police said.

Police identified the deceased as Kazuya Ogura, 39, a senior member of a gang affiliated with Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest underworld organization, and construction worker Kiyoto Takahashi, 33.

According to police, Ogura and Takahashi were stabbed when they and five to six others quarreled with at least two other men in the parking lot of a game parlor at around 2 a.m.

At 2:05 a.m., police received an emergency call from an unidentified man. When medics rushed to the scene, a man, bleeding from his head, told them there were others who were injured. The man then left the scene.

Police found a golf club and other objects at the scene, which is located among large stores lining National Highway No. 24.

An hour later, a nearby hospital called police to say that Ogura and Takahashi, who had somehow made it to the hospital and were receiving treatment, had died.

In what may be a related incident, several men broke into the office in Tsu, the prefectural capital, of another group affiliated with Yamaguchi-gumi an hour later and assaulted senior group member Tamio Tamura, 57, inflicting minor injuries, police said.

Russian gun found

MAEBASHI, Gunma Pref. (Kyodo) Police suspect that one of the gunmen in a deadly Saturday night attack at a bar here used a .38 caliber Makarov semiautomatic pistol, a type formerly used by the Soviet military, officials said Monday.

Investigators have also learned that a former underworld leader seriously wounded in the hail of bullets regularly visited the bar on Saturdays and Sundays around the time the attack took place, they said.

Police believe the two gunmen who stormed into the bar and shot to death four people — including three with no apparent underworld links — had known the routine of former mob leader Kunio Goto and targeted him.

The Maebashi Higashi Police Station has mobilized more than 100 investigators to search for clues to the assassins.

According to police, a Makarov pistol was found on the ground near Goto’s car, which was parked in front of the bar at the time of the shooting. A former mobster who was in the car was killed in the attack. The weapon was empty, and police suspect one of the gunmen discarded it after emptying the magazine.

Police suspect the gunmen also used other types of handguns, because more than a dozen spent cartridges of different calibers were found at the scene.

Higher state of alert

The National Police Agency instructed local police headquarters Monday to intensify monitoring of gangsters’ activities in the wake of Saturday’s shooting in Gunma Prefecture that left four people dead.

“It was the first case in recent years in which a number of ordinary citizens became victims” in shootings involving gangsters, the NPA said. Three bystanders were among the four killed in the shooting at a bar in Maebashi, the capital of Gunma Prefecture. Two others were seriously injured.

The document from the NPA includes concrete instructions, such as orders to increase seizures of weapons managed by gangster syndicates, take proactive measures to prevent gang conflicts, and conduct thorough investigations to prevent the spread of conflicts and subsequent confrontations.

The NPA also ordered local police forces to collect information on the Maebashi shooting and to strengthen inspections of related groups.

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