TOKYO -- An organization of gang groups based in the Kanto region around Tokyo has instructed its affiliates to refrain from easily using firearms ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, those familiar with the matter said.
Kanto Shinbokukai, an organization comprising six major crime syndicates including the Sumiyoshi-kai and the Inagawa-kai, sent a notice to its affiliates in early February telling them to be prudent about using guns, according to those close to investigative authorities.
Noting frequent shooting incidents, the notice states, "We ask you once again to be prudent about using firearms ahead of the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics." Each affiliate organization has apparently notified their members of the content of the notice.
The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) suspects that gangs have grown wary of police cracking down on yakuza organizations' possession and use of guns.
An individual close to one yakuza organization commented, "The fact that shooting incidents have occurred while police have cracked down on yakuza ahead of the Tokyo Games is outrageous. It's just like adding oil to the fire."
At least seven shooting incidents have occurred in various parts of Japan, including Tokyo and Kobe, since October 2018. The MPD and other police forces are doing their best to arrest suspects in these incidents, fearing ordinary citizens could get caught in the crossfire.
An individual linked to the MPD says, "The notice is aimed only at demonstrating that the organization was properly instructing its members."