Woman sues head of Japan’s largest Yakuza group

5 years ago by in Japan

A woman filed a suit against Kenichi Shinoda, chief of the Yamaguchi-gumi gang, demanding a refund of the protection money she paid to the group.

The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, is a former restaurant owner who is asking Kenichi Shinoda Y 17.35 million (($174,200; £115,000) in refunds. The woman’s action in court is backed by of a crime law revisited in 2008 which says that heads of organizations can be held liable for damage done by its members and affiliate groups, the international media reports.

According to the local press, this might be the first legal action of this kind in Japan. The woman reportedly paid Y 10.85million ($109,000, £72,000) in protection money over 12 years. When she wanted to stop paying for protection, a gang member threatened to torch her restaurant, the woman’s lawyers said.

The Yamaguchi-gumi make up over 40% of Japan’s organized crime gang members, police figures show. Japan’s gangs, also known as yakuza groups, are not illegal but they are said to be involved in crime activities such as prostitution, drug dealing and stock market manipulation.