National / Crime & Legal

Man held for allegedly shooting at home belonging to deputy leader of Japan's largest yakuza group

Kyodo

Police on Sunday arrested a man for allegedly firing several shots with a handgun at a home belonging to the second-in-command of the Yamaguchi-gumi, the nation’s largest yakuza group, in Kuwana, Mie Prefecture.

No injuries were reported in the shooting.

The man — believed to be in his 70s — said his surname was Taniguchi, and told investigators he shot the gun “three or four times” at the residence of Kiyoshi Takayama, 72, the deputy leader of the powerful yakuza group said to have around 4,400 members.

Recently the crime syndicate has been engaged in repeated clashes with splinter group Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, which has about 1,700 members. Sunday’s shooting may have been linked to the dispute, police sources said.

According to investigators, the suspect shot at the main gate of the residence. He tried to flee but was soon arrested by police officers who were patrolling in the area.

A revolver was later found among the suspect’s belongings, the sources said.

Tensions between the two crime groups have intensified since February last year, prompting public safety commissions in six prefectures on Jan. 7 to designate the groups as “crime syndicates at war” in an effort to weaken them and bring an end to their escalating conflict.

The targeted house is located in a residential area that is home to many children and is about several hundreds meters away from an elementary school.

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