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Two Dead, Five Wounded in Gang Violence

September 6, 1985

TOKYO (AP) _ Police said today that two suspected gangsters had died and five were wounded in shooting incidents in three western Japanese cities.

A National Police Agency official also said the government ordered police to step up surveillance of local gangs in 17 eastern states in an effort to prevent further violence.

A police official in Yuasa, 280 miles southwest of Tokyo, said Terushi Kakihata, 43, was killed and Haruo Hatanaka, 44, was wounded when two unidentified men opened fire in Hatanaka’s office. The two gunmen fled by car after the shooting.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, identified the two victims as members of a local gang affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi, which is estimated to have at least 10,000 members and to be Japan’s largest single underworld combine.

Two other men identified by police as gang members were wounded in a shooting today in Kitakyushu, 562 miles southwest of the capital, local police spokesman Toshimi Ryu said in a telephone interview.

Ryu said the two were shot while riding in a car to their headquarters. The reason was not known, he said.

On Thursday, two members of a local in Toyohashi gang were seriously wounded by a third member of the gang, who then apparently shot himself to death, said a police officer who spoke on condition he not be identified.

Police estimate there are about 100,000 gang members, called yakuza, in Japan, involved in gambling, massage parlors, prostitution, pornography and extortion rackets.

Gang violence has shocked a country where violent crime is rare.

National police officials meeting in Tokyo also discussed ways to deal with Japanese gangsters who might be conducting illegal activities in other countries and who might have turned to foreign sources for arms and funds, said a police official who spoke on condition he not be identified.

Update hourly