KYOTO–Prefectural police here on Oct. 28 arrested a yakuza gangster on suspicion of murdering a businessman known as the “Gyoza King” but said they have not determined the motive for the attack.
Yukio Tanaka, 56, a senior member of a gang affiliated with Kudokai, a special-designated “dangerous” yakuza group, is accused of fatally shooting Takayuki Ohigashi, 72, president of national restaurant chain Ohsho Food Service Corp., according to sources.
Ohigashi had driven alone to the company’s headquarters in Kyoto’s Yamashina Ward on the morning of Dec. 19, 2013.
In a parking lot outside the building, Ohigashi was shot four times in his chest and stomach with an automatic gun around 5:45 a.m.
Police found cigarette butts near the crime scene and conducted DNA testing. One of the results matched Tanaka’s DNA.
But Kyoto police did not say how Tanaka and Ohigashi were connected, nor if his gang held a grudge against the businessman or his restaurants, which are known for their servings of gyoza dumplings.
Sources said Tanaka was based in Fukuoka Prefecture at the time of Ohigashi’s murder.
Police, however, noted similarities between the killing of Ohigashi and an earlier incident of violence involving Tanaka.
In 2019, the Fukuoka District Court sentenced Tanaka to 10 years in prison for property destruction and violating the Swords and Firearms Control Law. The sentence was finalized, and he has been serving time at Fukuoka Prison.
The incident occurred in Fukuoka in January 2008.
According to court documents and other sources, Tanaka stood in the path of a vehicle carrying three people, including an employee of a major construction company, on a street in front of a building housing a company office.
Tanaka shot an automatic gun four times, damaging the vehicle’s front bumper and other parts, according to the documents. No one inside the vehicle was hurt.
He fled on a small motorbike, which was later found abandoned several hundred meters away from the scene.
Based on security camera footage, police said the killer of Ohigashi also likely used a motorbike to flee the scene.
Kyoto police are expected to question people associated with Tanaka to determine the background and the reason behind Ohigashi’s death.
Naoto Watanabe, who succeeded Ohigashi as president of Ohsho Food Service, told reporters after the arrest: “At last. I have wanted a solution for a long time.
“All employees have joined forces and worked for customers with the cherished desire of Ohigashi. I want to thank police and continue to cooperate with the investigation,” Watanabe said.
Ohsho Food Service was established in 1967 and opened its first restaurant in Kyoto.
As of March this year, the company operated 734 restaurants in Japan and abroad.
Ohigashi became the fourth president in April 2000.