Tokyo: A series of gangster-related shootings rattled Tokyo and left one man dead on 20 April, just days after the nation was stunned by the brazen slaying of the mayor of Nagasaki city by a mafia boss.
The latest shootings had no connection with the killing in Nagasaki and police are investigating if the latest incidents signal a brewing war between rival organized crime syndicates, according to local police official Yukio Tonose.
A suspected gangster shot a rival on the street near a convenience store in a western suburb of the capital and the victim, who was later identified as a 37-year-old gang member, died in hospital.
The shooter is then believed to have barricaded himself in a rival gang’s office from where a total of nine shots were fired and one of the bullets hit a police patrol car. No one was hurt in the second series of shootings and police surrounded the building where the alleged shooter was still holed up, about six hours after firing a first shot.
The local police believe that these shootings may be related to a war between rival gangs. Shootings are relatively rare in Japan, which has strict gun control laws, but with this shooting incident, they are worried over the deteriorating law and order situation.
On 17 April, a gangster seeking compensation from the city for damage to his car fatally shot the mayor of Nagasaki. Police arrested Tetsuya Shiroo, a senior member of Japan’s largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi, at the scene and said he admitted to the attack.
According to local media, police believe Shiroo harbored a grudge against Mayor Iccho Ito over unheeded claims for damage to his car when he drove into a hole at a public works construction site in 2003.