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Sunday, Jan. 17, 2010

JAPAN TIMES GONE BY

Guilty by ballot, Japan-U.S. security treaty signed, gang war feared


75 YEARS AGO

Friday, Jan. 11, 1935

Novel crime-hunt pair are fingered

Unable to stop frequent thefts in their village, 33 residents of Magi, Keitoku-mura, Fukushima Prefecture, gathered recently at the Seigenji Temple and cast votes to decide on who the criminal was. Ginichi Oyama, 30, and his wife Momiko, 33, who originally proposed the balloting, received 18 votes out of 32, and thus were declared the criminals.

The village of Magi is on a small island formed by two rivers and is isolated from neighboring districts. The villagers believed that no outsider committed the thefts, and they must have been perpetrated by someone in the village.

It is reported that when the villagers decided to cast votes, they consulted Policeman Sakaye Nemoto in the village of Keitoku-mura, and he gave his consent, according to the Tokyo Asahi. He was also present when the votes were cast.

Justice officials are determined to investigate the matter, and it has attracted much attention on account of the unique method of finding the criminals. The couple designated as the criminals by the voting state they are quite innocent. Another report says that as the couple had proposed the voting, other villagers cast their votes for them with an idea of punishing them for making such an outrageous proposal.

50 YEARS AGO

Wednesday, Jan. 20, 1960

Japan, U.S. sign security pact

The Japan-U.S. Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security was signed at 4:30 a.m. today (2:30 p.m. yesterday in Washington) in the glittering East Room of the White House, climaxing 15 months of protracted negotiations.

The 10-article treaty will provide the basis of a joint defense setup between Japan and the United States for the coming decade and replace the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty signed in San Francisco in September 1951, and the Japan-U.S. Administrative Agreement signed in February 1952.

The documents were signed in the presence of President Dwight D. Eisenhower following a 90-minute conference between Prime Minister Nobusuke Kishi and Eisenhower.

The new pact will go into effect on the day when Japan and the U. S. exchange the documents of ratification in Tokyo after going through the procedures prescribed by their respective constitutions.

The Japanese government plans to submit the new arrangements for ratification to the Diet scheduled to be resumed later this month. With the Socialist and Democratic Socialist Party (to be formed next week) preparing to oppose its ratification, it is expected that tension will reign in the Diet as in the case of Diet debate nine years ago on the peace treaty and the old security treaty.

The new treaty obligates the U.S. to defend Japan, while providing that Japan cooperate with U.S. troops in resisting attacks on U.S. forces stationed in Japan.

The government and the Liberal Democratic Party, who have succeeded in putting an end to the old Japan-U.S. relations based on a treaty concluded during the Occupation, regard the new pact as symbolizing Japan's joining of the Free World as an independent nation on its own free will.

25 YEARS AGO

Tuesday, Jan. 29, 1985

Fears of gang war after Takenaka hit

Police were on alert Monday to prevent a gangland war flaring up after the Sunday- night death of Masahisa Takenaka, the boss of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest underground organization, who, along with his two subordinates, was shot by members of a rival gang.

Takenaka, 51, died in Osaka Police Hospital at 11:25 p.m. Sunday. After an autopsy conducted Monday, his body was taken to the home of the late Kazuo Taoka, who led Yamaguchi-gumi before Takenaka, in Kobe's Nada Ward.

The shooting means Yamaguchi-gumi has lost its three top leaders at one stroke, all killed by a hit squad believed sent by rival gang Ichiwakai.

Police Monday sent about 1,000 riot policemen and other uniformed officers to about 200 places, including offices of both Yamaguchi-gumi and Ichiwakai.

The National Police Agency has decided to hold an emergency meeting of police officials from Osaka and Hyogo prefectures to discuss measures to contain Yamaguchi-gumi and Ichiwakai.

Ichiwakai was formed by Hiroshi Yamamoto, who left Yamaguchi-gumi in the wake of a leadership struggle after Takenaka became the fourth boss of Yamaguchi-gumi in June last year.

The leadership struggle was touched off by the death of Kazuo Taoka, the third boss of Yamaguchi-gumi, in July 1981.

Yamaguchi-gumi controls about 400 gangs in 29 prefectures and has about 10,000 members, while Ichiwakai controls about 140 gangs in 30 prefectures with about 2,800 members.

Around 9 p.m. Saturday, Takenaka and his two associates were about to enter an elevator on the first floor of a condominium in Esaka, Suita, Osaka Prefecture, in which Takenaka's mistress had an apartment. Four men attacked the three with guns, police said.

Police arrested Shuichi Nagano, 40, the boss of Doshinkai, an affiliate of Ichiwakai, who was slightly injured when he attempted to pursue and was hit by a car carrying the wounded Takenaka from the scene of the shooting.

Police believe Ichiwakai planned the attack because Yamaguchi-gumi had been sowing discord among its member gangs since the gangs separated from each other in June last year.

In this feature, which appears in Timeout on the third Sunday of each month, we delve into The Japan Times' 114-year archive to present a selection of stories from the past. Stories may be edited for brevity.


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