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Kobe yakuza group appears to have closed headquarters ahead of court decision

The headquarters of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate, which appears to have been closed down, is seen in Awaji, Hyogo Prefecture, on Sept. 20, 2017. (Mainichi, image partially modified)

AWAJI, Hyogo -- The Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate appears to have shut the doors of its main headquarters here on Oct. 30, investigative sources have disclosed.

    The public interest foundation "The Hyogo Prefectural Center for the Elimination of Boryokudan (organized gangs)" was commissioned by residents to file a temporary injunction requesting the suspension of the gang's headquarter operations with the Kobe District Court. The group appears to have halted activities of their own volition ahead of the court decision.

    According to investigative sources, a document dated Oct. 25 bearing the name of a 68-year-old Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi subordinate and leader of the "Kyoyukai" under the gang's umbrella, was sent to related groups announcing the closure of the headquarters. Recently, there have also been reports of people moving baggage from the location.

    The next location for the headquarters has not been finalized, but it appears there is a possibility that a facility in Kobe's Chuo Ward belonging to the "Yamaken-gumi" core group of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi will be used, and investigators are on high alert.

    The headquarters had been used as the office of the Kyoyukai since roughly 2010. After the split of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi from the main Yamaguchi-gumi crime syndicate in August 2015, the facility has served as the Kobe group's main office, hosting a regular meeting of group leaders from around the country once a month.

    Since the building is located in a residential area, anxiety among local residents spread, and the center used the proxy litigation system to file for the temporary injunction on Oct. 2.

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