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The arrests are starting

By Zach Arnold | February 23, 2006

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By Zach Arnold

This morning at 3 AM in Japan, four members of Yamaguchi-gumi’s top committee were arrested in relations to events surrounding the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 12/31/2003 Kobe Wing Stadium show. The arrests made were in relation to events concerning Mirko Cro Cop’s non-appearance on the event, and also attempts to stop Emelianenko Fedor from working the show.

Yamaguchi-gumi is Japan’s largest crime syndicate.

Article updated regularly.

Headlines dominate Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun had an article with the headline, “Do not allow the champion to fight”: Top Yakuza Arrested for Threats. The article says that the President of the promotional company was threatened, leading to Kanagawa & Shizuoka Police arresting top members of Yamaguchi-gumi today. According to the police investigation, four yakuza members in December of 2003 used the excuse that there was another contract in place (for foreign fighters) and made threats & extorted the promoter of the Inoki Bom-ba-ye show not to use PRIDE heavyweight champion Emelianenko Fedor in their event.

The yakuza attempted to extort proceeds of the TV broadcast contract and other cash.

This event is surrounded by civil legal proceedings from non-payment of cash amounts to foreign fighters, and also actions against the TV broadcaster. The promoter stated that he was held against his will and threatened prior to a press conference in relation to the event. The promoter lodged a criminal complaint with Kanagawa police due to the actions to the Yakuza who threatened him over the appearance of Fedor in the event.

In relation to the Inoki Bom-ba-ye show, Mirko Cro Cop was announced as not fighting and the promoter announced the participation of Fedor instead. The police state that the yakuza used illegal pressure in relation to these events.

On Nippon TV, Seiya Kawamata (the promoter who was threatened) gave an interview and stated that he was threatened by Yamaguchi-gumi. They demanded 200 million yen from him because of using Fedor on the Inoki Bom-ba-ye 2003 show. Kawamata also appeared in a short TV interview on TV-Asahi (video clip down below).

Sherdog reaction to the story.

Tokyo Broadcasting System has video clips from their news program about this story. Here is N-TV’s news coverage of the story. This story was also covered on TV-Asahi in Friday’s day-time news programming. Link here.

For those who haven’t seen the Tokyo Broadcasting System clip, it starts out by showing footage of a white van leaving Kawasaki (the area of one of the arrests), then some stock footage of Kobe Wing Stadium, followed by footage of a building in Yoshida-cho (Shizuoka), which was the area of the other arrest(s). The Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 program is showed with Fedor’s face on it. Fedor’s name is mentioned throughout the video package. The alleged yakuza members were named on-air by the TV broadcaster.

The Japanese message boards (such as IBJ Cafe) have gone crazy over this story.

Update: Kyodo has an article on the news wire about three of the men who were arrested. They are as follows: 40-year old Kazutaka Sakamoto (arrested in Shizuoka), his 45-year old elder brother (no name is given), and 35-year old Fumiaki Koyama (unemployed man). Koyama was arrested in the Nakahara district of Kawasaki city in Kanagawa.

Yomiuri Shimbun has a new article. This time, the story takes a new angle and focuses on the three men arrested. The storyline here is that these men allegedly threatened Kawamata after Fedor was booked on the Inoki show. Death threats, etc. The question now is whether there is evidence (or an admission) to get a conviction on blackmail charges and extortion (the claim that the men were trying to extort 200 million yen). Mainichi Shimbun reports that the date of the alleged blackmail threats was on 1/1/2004 in Shizuoka, the day after the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye event.

Topics: All Topics, Japan, MMA, Zach Arnold | 6 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

6 Responses to “The arrests are starting”

  1. […] You know, extortion seems to be a popular word in the MMA industry these days. […]

  2. […] Some people in public may be afraid to use the “y” word in Japan, but it’s not stopping the various top Japanese MMA writers on the Internet from discussing the matter. Inside (and outside) the MMA business, last week’s yakuza arrests continue to draw attention and speculation about what else may be revealed shortly. One of the more influential writers, Mr. Gryphon, had a chance to write a post about this story on his web site today. […]

  3. […] The Japanese fight industry is still in shock over last week’s arrests of three yakuza members of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime family. A fourth person is a fugitive and an arrest warrant has been issued. A lot of people were awaiting the reaction from the weekly tabloids regarding this story, but it has been strangely quiet. One person who decided to talk about the issue was Tarzan Yamamoto, who wrote a rather… interesting article in Weekly Pro-Wrestling magazine. […]

  4. […] Shukan (Weekly) Taishu, one of the various weekly Japanese publications, has published an article about the recent yakuza arrests in relation to the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003 show. I read the Japanese article and at first glance, a picture of Antonio Inoki was shown along with the question about morals at Nippon TV (the TV network that backed the Inoki event). […]

  5. […] UFC purching PRIDE could bring a bright spotlight from both American (FBI) and Japanese (Tokyo Metropolitan Police & Kanagawa Police) authorities. This is a strong and sobering statement to make, but it is applicable given what has been publicly stated and reported. If, as written, it is believed that PRIDE’s real/virtual owner Mr. I (Ishizaka aka Kim Dok-Soo) is the man behind PRIDE, selling PRIDE to UFC would create some controversy. As noted before by Shukan Gendai, Mr. I (Ishizaka) is still in hiding. The Kanagawa Police received their complaint from admitted yakuza-fixer Seiya Kawamata about his claims of yakuza threats (which he alleges involved Mr. I’s support) and have been reportedly trying to search for Mr. I, but they have not seen him in Japan. Several months ago, Gendai stated that the belief was that he was hiding in South Korea. […]


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