The Japanese police force is bracing itself for an onslaught of violence following the break-up of one of the country’s most infamous gangs.
The Yamaguchi-gumi, which previously had over 23,000 members and 72 affiliated gangs, confirmed in a meeting that five of its subsidiaries had been expelled from the group, while eight more had been suspended, according to the Telegraph.
The 13 subsidiaries were exiled from the main group after voicing concern over gang-boss Shinobu Tsukasa’s management, when he failed to focus the organisation's operations on the more lucrative Tokyo market.
At present the gang operates predominantly in western Japan.
Tsukasa, aged 73, became leader of the Yamaguchi-gami 10 years ago.
The gang, which is believed to be Japan’s largest yakuza organisation and traces its origins to a loose labour union for dockworkers in Kobe before the Second World War, allegedly engages in a range of activities including gambling, drugs, prostitution, loan-shark operations, protection rackets.
Tsukasa has previously served time in jail for firearms possession and is accused of being domineering and favouring some divisions of the gang over others, according to reports.
The country’s National Police Agency has warned local forces to be vigilant to any outbreaks of violence as the exiled factions seek out their own dominant areas.
A “very high possibility” of clashes between rival groups has been declared by experts on Japan’s gang culture.
The last time the Yamaguchi-gumi split in 1984, 25 people including a police officer were killed in gang clashes, while 70 others were injured.
Jake Adelstein, author of “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan” told the Telegraph that “there could be a chain reaction of divisions that leads to gang warfare breaking out across the country.“