Japan is on the brink of a mafia war as rival factions have developed within the Yamaguchi-gumi group of the Yakuza.
The Yamaguchi-gumi is the top earning organized crime group in the world pulling in an estimated $80 billion dollars a year. The powerful Japanese mafia family dwarfs other organization and in contrast , all of the mob groups combined in Italy make an estimated $33 billion yearly. The group has been called the Walmart of the mafia in Japan for its ability to ward off opponents and rake in profits.
According to law enforcement sources the organization is on the verge of splitting. Yamaguchi-gumi members have developed divided loyalties to 73 year old mafia boss Shinobu Tsukasa. Tsukasa became became the most powerful mafia boss in Japan back in 2005. He is only the sixth head of the organization in its 100 year history. A breakaway group has formed recently with in the organization to protest what is being seen as preferential treatment toward the Kodo-kai an affiliate he himself founded back in 1984.
Tsukasa has been expanding the power base and influence of the Kodo-kai into Tokyo and rest of eastern Japan. The move has angered the traditional western based member of the Yamaguchi-gumi according to multiple sources. High ranking members of the break away group failed to attend a recent meeting at Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters which is believed to be a sign of coming aggression. According to sources a gathering of senior crime figures with in the rival faction is set to take place next month where the break is expected to be formulated.
The Yakuza has traditionally been less violent then some other mafia groups like the Chinese triads or the Italian mafia. But the last time a break such as this happened with in the Yakuza group in the 80’s it lead to a mob war leaving more then 20 mobsters dead and hundreds arrested. Japanese authorities are bracing themselves for more possible blood shed as tensions rise and the current break in the mafia in Japan happens.
The faltering economy in Japan and added crackdowns by law enforcement have cut into Yakuza profits which many believe is partly responsible for the rift. There is more money to be made today in Tokyo prompting Tsukasa to put more emphasis on the Kodo-kai and moves into eastern Japan angering the traditional power base of the family.