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Shinzo Abe and the Yakuza

SNA (Tokyo) — The crackdown on yakuza, including the group called the Kudokai, which is registered as an especially dangerous criminal gang under Japanese law, has recently reached unusual levels. However, the fact that the Kudokai is also an organization reported to have once had connections with Shinzo Abe before he became prime minister eludes most people.

In 2000, there were incidents in which Kudokai members repeatedly threw firebombs into Abe’s home and his support group’s office in Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

In March 2007, during Shinzo Abe’s first term as prime minister, Kudokai members were given stiff prison sentences in relation to this case. The ruling of the trial reads,

“Defendant A is the head of designated Crime Syndicate D [Kudokai], Defendant B [Saichi Koyama] is an intimate friend of A, and Defendant C is the deputy head of Crime Syndicate D [Kudokai]. The three defendants, along with their associates E and F, firebombed the support office of House of Representatives member G [Shinzo Abe] as well as G’s associates, whom B [Saichi Koyama] resented, on June 6, 2000, at around 3:13 am…”

Although the names were withheld in the ruling, they are identifiable from numerous other reports, including articles by Asahi Shinbun and Kyodo News written about this very trial, in which the date and the details are consistent with the ruling.

The Kudokai members and their associates also gave their own account of the events leading up to the firebombing incidents in the trial.

Kudokai associate Saichi Koyama and Abe’s then-secretary Nobuyuki Saiki had a relationship before the incident, according to the ruling of the case. During the 1999 Shimonoseki mayoral elections, Koyama distributed fliers vilifying the opposition candidate in order to help reelect as mayor the current House of Representatives lawmaker and Abe’s protege Kiyoshi Ejima.

After Ejima was successfully reelected, three million yen was actually paid by Abe’s secretary Saiki to Koyama, as confirmed by the judgement of the case. Demanding that more money be paid, Abe’s home was firebombed by Koyama and Kudokai members in retaliation.

A fuller version of this article was published in the February 5, 2016, issue of Shukan Kinyobi.

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