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Japanese woman sues top Yakuza mob boss for refund

The unidentified restauranteur is suing Japan's top mob boss Kenichi Shinoda for refund of protection payments she says she was forced to pay.

KenichishinodaEnlarge
Kenichi Shinoda, the boss of Japan's largest "yakuza" gang, the Yamaguchi-gumi, gets into a car after arriving at the train station in Kobe, western Japan on April 9, 2011. Shinoda is being sued by a restaurant owner for a refund of protection payments she says she was forced to make to an affiliate gang. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

A Japanese restaurant owner is suing the country's top mob boss for a refund of protection payments she says she was forced to pay an affiliate gang.

The unidentified woman filed a lawsuit against Kenichi Shinoda, the head of Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest underworld group.

She claims Shinoda has "employer liability" as the head of the mob group and is ultimately responsible for his gangsters.

She is seeking 17.35 million yen ($174,200) for damages stemming from being forced to pay 10.85 million yen between 1998 and 2010, reports the Tokyo Reporter.

"This woman showed great courage in standing up (to this injustice)," the lawyer for the restaurant manager said at a press conference.

"We would like this for this trial to become a curtailment for these activities in the future."

The restaurant owner made the monthly payments - known as mikajimeryo - as protection money for her business.

The woman's lawyers told the Japan Times that she tried to stop making the payments in 2008 but was threatened.

"If you say such a thing, (your property) will be set on fire," an executive with the yakuza group, who was later indicted for extortion, allegedly told the woman.

The incredibly bold move is thought to be the first of its kind.

According to the BBC, Japan revised an anti-organized crime law in 2008 to allow heads of gang organizations to be held liable for damage done by its members and affiliate groups.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/japan/130717/japanese-woman-sues-top-yakuza-mob-boss-refund