Tokyo’s Yakuza Gangs Continue Demanding Protection Money

The Yakuza gangs in Tokyo still openly demand protection. The owners of three restaurants and love hotels in Tokyo find themselves in legal trouble after giving ransom money to a yakuza group that operates in the capital’s bustling Kanda business sector.

Protesting against Yakuza

On May 26, police from Tokyo’s Kanda Police Station issue a warning to business owners to stop providing yakuza with protection money and to break links with the gangs that operate in the area of JR Kanda Station in the Chiyoda Ward of the city. (Keita Yamaguchi)

According to reports, police forwarded the case to authorities by July because the “mikajimeryo” protection money payments violated a law intended to end syndicates.

The trio effectively encouraged the gangs to flourish by providing the money, according to the Metropolitan Police Department. In addition to the three businesses, it was known that several other shops in Kanda gave mikajimeryo.

Between October 2019 and January of this year, as reported by authorities at the Kanda Police Station, a senior member of a gang connected to the Sumiyoshi-kai syndicate received mikajimeryo payments from the three managers totaling $5,000(720,000 yen).

The gang member has previously been charged with violating the law by demanding ransom money from business owners.

In March, the MPD detained the senior figure and three other individuals from the same organisation. They were in connection with a different case of extortion from an owner of an “izakaya” tavern that took place over five years.

For almost ten years, more than ten establishments were forced by the gang to pay mikajimeryo. That included izakaya and a hostess bar, according to investigations.


TALKED ABOUT A DISCOUNT

The owner of a hostess bar in Tokyo acknowledged in an interview with the Asahi Shimbun that about ten years ago, he paid mikajimeryo to the gang despite his unwillingness to do so after being told that he would not have been well served by doing that. Later, he was taken to jail by the police.

The man stated that the mobster phoned him to “talk about our future,” when he was already employed as a bartender and was going to succeed his predecessor as manager of the business.

The bar manager claimed that the restaurant used to give the yakuza member’s organization 150,000 yen per month in mikajimeryo payments. He claimed that the then-owner inspired him to participate in the meeting to terminate connections with the gang.

The gangster’s close-cropped hair, dark sunglasses that covered his eyes. and the chain around his neck made him a stereotypical example of the category. The yakuza sitting in front of him was informed by the man that he could no longer “extend funds,” to which the gangster responded, “You will have trouble.”

Yakuza gang members
Even though they came across as friendly, his comments were threatening. The tavern manager had a gut feeling that refusing the gang’s demands would result in “severe thorns.”

The yakuza offered to reduce the monthly mikajimeryo to 30,000 yen, and the man accepted the deal because it was “a pitiful sum.” The gangster’s claim that “everyone around here” paid protection money also persuaded him.

Since then, the yakuza get in touch with him on his cellphone at the end of each calendar month. They decide where and how to deliver the cash in a brown envelope. The meetings were held elsewhere, often on abandoned streets, to keep out of snooping eyes,

Due to the “greater size” of the bar, the regular payments were subsequently increased to 60,000 yen. The manager was aware that paying ransom money was improper because it did not directly help his business.

The manager claimed that “my predecessor and everyone else paid protection money.” “I simply saw the payments as a necessary outlay, similar to electricity costs, to avoid hazards.”

He refused to speak with the police, claiming that “the police cannot safeguard our day and night.” He reflected on those times and remarked, “I never thought of telling the police about the issue.”

Finally, when he was apprehended by the police, he experienced a certain amount of relief. It was truly fortunate for him that he could reject the gang’s demands for ransom outright.


Source: The Asahi Shimbun

Also read about 16 Common Yakuza Tattoos And Their Meaning

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