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Details of Roppongi slaying emerge, but raise new questions

57 Comments

At 3:40 a.m. on the morning of Sept 2, approximately 10 individuals, faces concealed by ski masks, stormed into Flower, a large club in Roppongi 5-chome.

The group gained access via a private entrance (described elsewhere as an emergency exit) adjacent to the club's VIP lounge area, where a group of four to five customers, police investigators have learned, had booked the lounge in advance.

As reported in Tokyo Sports (Sept 4), the assailants made a beeline toward Ryosuke Fujimoto, the 31-year-old operator of a barbecue restaurant in Shibuya, who had been relaxing with friends for the previous two and a half hours. They bludgeoned Fujimoto with what appeared to be metal pipes, and after an assault that took no longer than two minutes, the men fled from the exit and down the steps into waiting vehicles.

A bloodied Fujimoto, a resident of Tokyo's Nakano Ward, was transported by ambulance to a nearby hospital. He was pronounced dead shortly after 5 a.m. On Tuesday, the pathologist announced the cause to be brain injuries caused by blunt force trauma.

Club Flower is located approximately 250 meters from Roppongi subway station. On Saturday night, it hosted a music event, and was filled to near capacity with an estimated 300 customers.

"I figure plenty of the customers never even caught a glimpse of what happened," one patron told a reporter.

According to a regular at the club, arriving customers are carefully scrutinized at the reception.

"Anyone who looks like trouble gets checked out at the entrance," says a denizen of Roppongi familiar with that club. "I suppose the only way the assailants could have got in would be via some other entrance. With the lighting subdued and the music turned up, hardly anyone would have noticed the attack except someone close by the victim's table."

"There are rumors floating around that the victim was involved in some trouble, possibly drugs," another Roppongi local is quoted as saying. "But they are no more than rumors."

Police investigators have since released more information. The perpetrators' two passenger vans are believed to have entered the Shuto Expressway from a nearby access ramp -- and recorded by security cameras -- and driven in the direction of Shinjuku.

Tsuyoshi Natsuno, a professor at the Keio University graduate school, remarked to J-Cast News (Sept 3), "The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it's possible they were foreigners."

Certainly, J-Cast argues, the killers' modus operandi -- a team of 10 men in ski masks, who homed in on a single target -- was exceptional, even for a yakuza group, and the kind of thing that had heretofore seldom occurred in Japan.

Actually it did occur once before. In Roppongi last December, a group of some 20 young men armed with beer bottles and metal pipes attacked a yakuza leader. Those perpetrators have yet to be identified, and the recurrence of this kind of violent incident in so public a place has Tokyo Sports worried.

Roppongi, is becoming increasingly dangerous, freelance writer Yasuhiro Ebina tells Nikkan Gendai (Sept 4).

"It looks like the yakuza may be farming out jobs to groups of young punks (he uses the term 'han-gure,' meaning semi-gangsters), as the yakuza themselves are being hassled by the police even for just opening their mouths," says Ebina. "The clubs may be a spot where speed or quasi-legal drugs are openly sold, and salarymen will be threatened if they are noticed watching a transaction.

"I'm aware that groups of young toughs from Chiba or Tochigi come into Roppongi for 'trial runs.' They've been known to fight it out with the Africans who work as touts. Rumbles on the streets are by no means rare.

Ebina also says rapes in Roppongi are on the increase.

"The rapists' targets are women waiting for the trains to start running again in the morning. They will invite the women to a bar and slip a mickey into their drinks, then leave the girls unconscious on the street after they rape them. Sometimes you can see semiconscious women get booted out from passing cars right at the main Roppongi intersection."

Roppongi, says the tabloid, has become even more dangerous than sleazy Kabukicho. Hey, Gov Ishihara, Nikkan Gendai suggests -- before you pitch hosting the 2020 Olympics, how about cleaning up your city?

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

57 Comments
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The private/emergency entrance is open from the outside and has no security? And who had knowledge of the victim being there? Inside info? Tipoff? Or just knowing his habits and whereabouts?

1 ( +5 / -4 )

And I know some of you will jump on me, but if you use common sense and stick to the most popular bars and clubs, chances are you will never have any problem or brush with crime in Roppongi.

5 ( +14 / -9 )

"someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it’s possible they were foreigners". I am very sure that there are 'foreigners' doing bad things in Japan and all over the world but it seems suspect that this information is attributed to a university professor saying that someone heard them speaking.

10 ( +16 / -6 )

Roppongi, says the tabloid, has become even more dangerous than sleazy Kabukicho. Hey, Gov Ishihara, Nikkan Gendai suggests—before you pitch hosting the 2020 Olympics, how about cleaning up your city?

Yeah, I'm sure London, Rio, Istanbul and Madrid have no issues with violent crime.

3 ( +14 / -11 )

wow sounds like Roppongi was worse than I imagined. But raped girls kicked out of cars is a whole new low.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

“The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it’s possible they were foreigners

Of course

-6 ( +6 / -12 )

“I’m aware that groups of young toughs from Chiba or Tochigi come into Roppongi for ‘trial runs.’ They’ve been known to fight it out with the Africans who work as touts. Rumbles on the streets are by no means rare.

Ebina also says rapes in Roppongi are on the increase.

Really? sounds like a bit of sensationalism to me.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

“The rapists’ targets are women waiting for the trains to start running again in the morning. They will invite the women to a bar and slip a mickey into their drinks, then leave the girls unconscious on the street after they rape them. Sometimes you can see semiconscious women get booted out from passing cars right at the main Roppongi intersection.”

And this is just absolute nonsense.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

Japan is indeed changing for the better; this time it took 3 whole days for blame to be placed on foreigners.

24 ( +31 / -8 )

Sometimes you can see semiconscious women get booted out from passing cars right at the main Roppongi intersection.

Why would a rapist choose to abandon his victim in front of hundreds of potential witnesses? Sounds like nonsense to me.

4 ( +12 / -8 )

Here is a video report with additional details.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4NtvNc3l3uI&feature=player_embedded

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Sometimes you can see semiconscious women get booted out from passing cars right at the main Roppongi intersection.

What nonsense...Have been living in Roppongi for the last 20 years.. yes things have gone bad in Roppongi...but random cars booting out drugged girls right at the Roppongi intersection right in front of the Koban...now either the person does not know Roppongi or has had one too many at the time of writing this.

1 ( +8 / -8 )

Of course it was foreigners or some punks from Chiba or Tochigi. Or maybe it was some homeless group or leftist radicals, or sex-crazed foreign leftist zionist punks from Chiba. Could even have been hormone overloaded patrons from the victims yakiniku restaurant.

-3 ( +8 / -11 )

"The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it's possible they were foreigners."

Certainly, J-Cast argues, the killers' modus operandi-a team of 10 men in ski masks, who homed in on a single target-was exceptional even for a yakuza group, and the kind of thing that had heretofore seldom occurred in Japan.

This was clearly a planned hit either one of the staff leaked that he was there and told them where to go, or they had someone watching him. As for it's possible they were foreigners I really doubt that in the brief few minutes it took to kill him that anyone paid enough attention to what they where saying to hear "broken" Japanese. Also they took the time to hide their face and clearly had a plan, thus they would must likely refrain from speaking or hide their voice as it could be another way to ID them..... I think Prof. Tsuyoshi Natsuno doesn't have anything smart to add so I think he thought he would play the foreigner card and try to boost his reputation. IMHO this has professional hitmen written all over it.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

@Tyler

this has professional hitmen written all over it.

But surely, true professional hitmen (and there would probably only have been one) would have taken the guy out down a dark alley with a gunshot to the head or a knife to the throat, swiftly and unobtrusively. This whole incident is just insane...ten guys with metal pipes sounds like someone had a very public point to prove.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I'm aware that groups of young toughs from Chiba or Tochigi come into Roppongi for trial runs. They've been known to fight it out with the Africans who work as touts.

I'm sure Ibaraki deserves some credit too. Well, if these young punks have got to fight someone, its not a bad place to start.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Someone arrest these hoodlums and lock em away like animals.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

Sounds like someone called in the victims location.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

I believe sometime in the 1990s then-prime minister Hashimoto's daughter was assaulted in Roppongi, and the cops, very briefly, were obliged to take an interest in cleaning up the mess. As soon as the pressure was off they were back to hassling bicycle riders and their other usual laid-back techniques at enforcement. Building those dazzling new skyscraper complexes in Roppongi hasn't really changed the nature of the area much. Sumo champions go there to punch people out; kabuki actors go there to get punched out; and sub-Saharan Africa is out in force. As far as I know, the US Embassy advisory for American citizens to avoid it is still in effect. The place is a zoo, and it's likely that most of the crimes that occur there don't even get reported.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

@ Lucabrasi

I'm sure whoever wanted him dead wanted it to be public and had a point to prove, but when 10 men are in and out of a club with 300 people in it in less then 2 min and surgically take out one man..... I don't think thats your normal street thug. 10 men could of just went to the bar and started a fight with him.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

There should be plenty of evidence to help the police here. The expressway toll gates capture the number plates of vehicles passing through. It seems likely a mobile phone was used to inform the location of the victim. The police can trace which mobile phones were in the area at that time and then which of those were moving along the expressway shortly afterwards. They should be able to find out where the vans went to using the same method.

The police seem to be keeping very quiet about this; usually they report on the progress of their investigation, but in this case there is nothing. Maybe they are scared of the gangsters? Also, if foreigners were suspected the police would be the first to say so. They know who did it, why don't they act?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

@Tyler

I guess you're right. But I still can't fathom what was going through their minds. Seriously, what kind of professional killer would agree to team up with nine other people who, presumably, he didn't know very well and couldn't trust implicitly and carry out this kind of sensational attack? It'd have to be somebody very confident about not being caught, or his accomplices not talking, which raises questions about police involvement, I suppose.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

My take on why it was 10 : Probably to obfuscate the fatal hit. Nobody can say who exactly killed the man. So the upcoming penalty will be split by 10?!

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

there doesn't seem to be much information about the victim. Barbecue restaurant operator - food wars? Don't laugh: it can spiral out of control. The whole event has "inside job" written all over it. There must have been an informant, and the club must somehow be complicit to facilitate such smooth access and escape. We also haven't heard from any of the "friends" in the victim's company. Something is being hushed up.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Always Always got to put the foreigner element - This crime is gang related. Who knows what happened ?

Hopefully we will get a TRUE sense of investigative reporting from the media.

Because the victim's friends where there. Do they know anything ?

What's an operator ? Co owner ? Franchise owner ?

Sad to say that's where it's heading !!!!!! In a downward spiral really quick.

Whenever & wherever you have nightlife & red light districts in your neighborhood. Your bound to have more rapes, pyschos, & crazy people to take advantage of drunk women.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

just love the foreigner angle!!! Expect the media will pick up on that - give the keystones a few more excuses for their racist profiling of the internationals living in Japan..typical.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

My take on why it was 10 : Probably to obfuscate the fatal hit. Nobody can say who exactly killed the man. So the upcoming penalty will be split by 10?!

doedel@I'm afraid that doesn't work. First of all, if the police can question multiple suspects it's easier for them to trick one of the dumb ones into informing on his colleagues. Second, there's a good chance none of the killers knew the victim personally. If they were hired hit men then the person who paid for the job can be tried for homicide since he's as guilty as the actual perpetrators. PS: When I see the word "barbecue restaurant" in a crime story, the search engine in my head automatically flags "Korean." So it's not a good idea to rule out the international angle just yet.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

First, thank you, Japan Today, for the update. Detailed news stories like this are a good direction.

The problem is that the sources are unidentified, and verifiable facts are left unverified.

Ebina also says rapes in Roppongi are on the increase.

Surely this is easy enough to check, even if you only have the official stats.

Also, why would foreign thugs speak broken Japanese instead of their native language? Multiethnic gangs are uncommon, and if some members were Japanese it would more likely be a Japanese-organized hit.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Why do they assume broken japanese = foreigner..... maybe they were all highly intelligent foreign raised Bi-Lingual Japanese who like to slip in and out of each language......?

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

Yeah, I'm sure London, Rio, Istanbul and Madrid have no issues with violent crime.

Which isnt the point really. If Tokyo wants to host the Olympics incidents like this will do more harm than good. No one is saying "other" places are not crime free, but for being one of the more, if not most popular places for people to hang out in Tokyo to catch the night life scene, the bad publicity hopefully will force the police (Ishihara) into doing something to improve the image.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Tsuyoshi Natsuno, a professor at the Keio University graduate school, remarked to J-Cast News (Sept 3), “The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it’s possible they were foreigners.”

So lets factor in a few things.

As stated it is a night club. The place must have had lights dimmed down. The music would have been played loud. The perpetrators faces were covered in masks and finally The incident happened in over 3mins.

In all that was happening how can you verify or how close would you have to be to make out that the perps were speaking broken Japanese and that they were foreigners. If Tsuyoshi Natsuno who calls himself a professor is quick to solve the crime why isn't he working on the case with the police or why hasn't the perps been apprehended using his info....hmmmmm.

Like me leave the job of solving the crime to the professionals and stop making biased accusations. Thought should be on solving the crime with concrete evidence and to the family of the victim, regardless of who he was or his history.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

OMG! With all of this violence in Japan! Almost like back in LA??

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

Tsuyoshi Natsuno, a professor at the Keio University graduate school, remarked to J-Cast News (Sept 3), “The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it’s possible they were foreigners.”

There are plenty of 'foreigners' fluent in Japanese who pronounce their Japanese better than the yakz or chimpira.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

With the lighting subdued and the music turned up, hardly anyone would have noticed the attack except someone close by the victim’s table.”

Rubbish. With 10 blokes in ski masks beating a guy to death with metal pipes, I would have noticed it even if I was wearing headphones and sunglasses and the other side of the club!

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

“The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it’s possible they were foreigners.”

A|h yes, blame the foreigners you old git. Never the Japanese that cause the problems. Nope. Never.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

From what I saw on TV, the attacked dude was sitting in a VIP lounge the back of the bar/night club Flower. A woman sitting in a chair across from him at the next table said the attackers looked at her after attacking him, but did nothing to her. They just left. My question: What kind of a place is this club Flower? And to have 300 people there at such an early hour in the morning ... what were they doing there at that time? If I go to Roppongi, I'm usually out of there by 8 p.m. when the streets start to become a little livelier. I hear it gets pretty wild around the stroke of midnight and thereafter. A far cry from the Roppongi of the old days (1960s, 1970s).

-11 ( +2 / -12 )

Those so appalled by the suggestion of foreigners seem to be forgetting about the Chinese gangs also being blamed for increased violence in our own countries.

This sort of thing is really not that common by the locals, and its a big reason why many of us live here.

Of course I am not saying it was Chinese or any other foreigner. It may have been local yaks as well. But with so little evidence of anything, the only thing to rail against is the Japanese around us who will jump to the conclusion that yeah, it must have been foreigners then.

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

If I go to Roppongi, I'm usually out of there by 8 p.m. when the streets start to become a little livelier. I hear it gets pretty wild around the stroke of midnight and thereafter. A far cry from the Roppongi of the old days (1960s, 1970s).

What a joke. One murder in god knows how long and people are running for the hills believing sensationalist crap from gossip rags. Roppongi is about as dangerous as a sleepy chihuahua on any given night. I don't know what this guy did to get beaten for, but sounds to me like the he wasn't an innocent. If the crime elements want to cull their own numbers, so be it.

In the meantime, your biggest danger in Roppongi is walking through puke.

2 ( +10 / -8 )

No one here dare to say they're probably Chinese.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Why do they have to be Chinese?? Many, many poor zai nich Kankojins, Koreans are in the Japanese yakuza mafia for ages. They look almost just like Japanese, and if they own money to the yakuza?? No choice but to do hits like this, right??

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Oops!!, meant to write,poor ZAI NICHI not ZAI NICH Kankojins, ok???

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

"No one here dare to say they're probably Chinese"

They were probably Chinese....American

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

If ONE guy in a ski mask in the middle of Summer is going to get my attention, you can be sure TEN of them are DEFINITELY going to draw my attention.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

In the meantime, your biggest danger in Roppongi is walking through puke.

I'd like to challenge that Napolean. I'd say the biggest danger in Roppongi is being drunk and following one of the Chinese girls into a 'massagey parlour'.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Welcome to law abiding, "safe" Tokyo. Another myth about Japan exposed. Roppongi is a place I never go to. It's full of sleaze, and sleazy people. One of the worst places in Tokyo, and in all of Japan. Despite the glamour of Midtown and Roppongi Hills, the darker side is one of prostitution, drugs, gang rapes, human trafficking, violence and corruption. It's the side of Tokyo that no- one wants to talk about. Why doesn't Governor Ishihara do something about it? The Japanese Government and Ishihara are only concerned about some stupid rocks jutting out of the sea, which they call "islands" and which they are claiming as part of Japan. It's all about corruption, greed and a lack of humanity. People in Tohoku have suffered three major disasters, yet the people in authority are not invested in helping them, nor in sorting out the filth in Tokyo's backyard. What a sick society this is.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Just watched the youtube video, do they really need that many police on the scene. Jeezz, where I'm from you're lucky if 2 cops shows up

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I thought it was dark and loud. How could anyone have heard them speaking?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

OMG! With all of this violence in Japan! Almost like back in LA??

Seriously dude what is with your hyperbole? You act as if the world is coming to an end or that things are going down the hole every time there is a crime committed.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

What a load of total nonsense. Typical Kuchikomi.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

" In Roppongi last December, a group of some 20 young men armed with beer bottles and metal pipes attacked a yakuza leader. Those perpetrators have yet to be identified, "

This is what I expect here too. It was planned, it was gang-related, and the J-cops are not going to upset the applecart of their existing relationships.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There is so much rumor and hear-say in this article, it hardly qualifies as news. Gotta love the foreigner approach in the media, for all the reasons stated above.

Looking at the ultra-violent M.O., Jake Adelstein says it's probably the Kanto Rengo Kai, a yakuza group that truly doesn't give a fudge about the, in theory, respectable ways of the old school yakuza.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I think Roppongi has changed quite a bit in the last 15 years but it's no worse than NYC so if you keep your head together it shouldn't be a problem. I certainly hope the rapes aren't as big a problem as implied here but I've never been in Roppongi much past midnight.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This was obviously a gangster situation...10 guys wearing ski-masks (let into the club through the private/emergency exit) beat a Japanese man with pipes??? Honestly, I really don't think they wanted to kill him..maybe put him in the hospital for a few months. But regardless of whether they wanted him dead or not, they definitely wanted to send a message--> "Mess with us (not pay/steal/play games), and this is what happens to you"

Not one other person was harmed at all!...they were obviously after 1 guy. I don't know what he did, but he definitely pissed off the wrong people. Oh, and by the way...I doubt very seriously if foreigners were involved. I could read this one with my eyes closed-

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As of Saturday, Sept. 8, this article is a little outdated. We have now seen the faces of several of the suspects as they enter the club Flower in Roppongi for their head-bashing antics. And these faces were shown over and over again on TV on Friday. So as the police now know what several of them look like, maybe they can get around to catching them sooner or later.

The men were shown getting out of their black cars and walking confidently into the club ... while an overhead camera caught every step of their grand entrance plus the cars in the background (the license plates were blanked out for the TV coverage). Whatever ... some of these thugs were rather careless. Should have covered up their mugs with ski masks as their partners did.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why not just one person with a gun?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

paulinusaSep. 05, 2012 - 08:21AM JST

The private/emergency entrance is open from the outside and has no security? And who had knowledge of the victim being there? Inside info? Tipoff? Or just knowing his habits and whereabouts?>

now that ive noticed there are absolutly no postings for security guard positions of any kind in japan on craigslist or other sites like it i wonder why?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

“The attackers may have been gang members or as someone heard them speaking broken Japanese, it’s possible they were foreigners.”

Oh... here we go.... They're foreigners now... What a lame excuse... They are Yakuza... Any 6 year old boy, could tell you that...

And these less than worthless J-Oops are there buddies...

Oh, no one caught a glimpse of them...? Right...? Unbelievable... Worthless and spineless JCops... (or JOops for short..)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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