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A century after its founding, the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest and most notorious crime syndicate, appears to have expelled 13 of its approximately 70 affiliated gang leaders Tuesday, creating local fears of related gang violence.

The move, according to police and media reports, has been in the works for some time and is the result of a power struggle between affiliated gangs, located mostly in the Kansai region, and the Nagoya-based gang Kodo-kai, from which the sixth don of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Kenichi Shinoda, and the No. 2, Kiyoshi Takayama, hail.

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