Kiyoshi Takayama the second most powerful mobster in Japan has been sentenced to six years in prison for extortion.
Takayama is a member of the Yamaguchi-gumi the largest mafia group in Japan and part of the Yakuza. He is now the chairman of the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodo-Kai faction and second in command over all of the Yamaguchi-gumi organization itself. Takayama served as the de facto boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi from 2005 to 2011 when the organizations top boss Kenichi Shinoda also known as Shinobu Tsukasa was imprisoned on gun charges. Takayama was arrested back in late 2009 and has just now been sentenced and is now expected to appeal. He attempted to blackmail a Kyoto businessman on three separate occasions between 2005 and 2006 demanding the victim become a corporate associate of the gang and pay protection money.
Takayama is a well known figure in Japan and is know to be a ruthless and cunning leader. He is said to be respected and feared by many members of the underworld and has been on the cover of many publications on the Yakuza in Japan. For years the police in Japan and the Yakuza held a semi-cordial relationship and often when Yakuza members were caught for crimes they committed they would confess quickly and some involved in gang wars and violent acts even turn themselves into police. Takayama was criticized for his antagonistic attitude toward law enforcement and under his rule Yamaguchi-gumi members were less cooperative with authorities and no longer confessed to crimes breaking the historical traditions.
The Yakuza mafia group itself is not illegal in Japan but there are many laws in place to regulate their activities. They run networks of front companies and maintain offices all over Japan.