Japan's largest mafia group, also the world's wealthiest, is experiencing an internal rebellion that could potentially have wide-ranging implications for the world's third-largest economy.
The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's most prominent yakuza, i.e. organized crime group, saw hordes of its members leave to form a splinter group in recent days, according to local media reports. The new faction, called the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, announced its launch on Monday in an official release, The Japan Times reported.
The new group's head Kunio Inoue reportedly expressed his frustration with current Yamaguchi-gumi boss Shinobu Tsukasa—also known as Kenichi Shinoda—in the release, criticizing his "extreme egoism."
Monday's launch followed reports that the Yamaguchi-gumi expelled 13 leaders of associate groups last week, including Inoue who heads an affiliate called the Yamaken-gumi.
The internal dissent has reportedly seen 3,000 members leave the Yamaguchi-gumi overall. Before the split, the parent organization had more than 23,000 members, equaling 40 percent of all gang-affiliated people in the nation, according to widely circulated estimates.