Japanese companies have a reputation for working their employees hard, but some of them also offer some great perks. One of the nicer ones is a company apartment building, which some companies maintain and rent out to employees at reduced rates, leaving them more disposable income to spend on other things.
And for one shipping company in the city of Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, there’s the added bonus of the employee apartment building being only about a 10-minute walk south from Nishinomiya Station. Cheap rent and a convenient location sounds like a win-win, but it turns out there’s also an unexpected drawback to living there.
At around 2 a.m. on March 3, residents of the neighborhood heard four loud bangs in rapid succession. A concerned citizen called the police, and when officers arrived on scene, they found four new dents, small but distinct, had been put into the shutter-style garage door on the building’s first floor. Then, while inspecting the area, they found what they believe are four ricocheted bullets, leading them to believe that the sounds residents heard were someone firing a pistol at the building.
The search also turned up a glass bottle stuffed with partially burnt newspaper and which had “the smell of oil,” suggesting someone had tossed a Molotov cocktail-like incendiary device at the building which failed to properly ignite.
So who has such a beef with the shipping company that they’re ready to shoot the place up and burn it down? Probably no one. See, while the building is now an employee apartment building, the shipping company isn’t the original owner, and until about 10 years ago it was owned by a sub-faction of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, one of the largest yakuza organizations in Japan.
Hyogo Prefectural Police say that in recent months there’s been increased infighting between factions of the Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, with two shootings last November in Nishinomiya and the neighboring town of Amagasaki resulting in multiple injuries. Their current theory is that whoever was behind the March 3 attack is operating under old information and didn’t realize that the gangsters they thought they were targeting had vacated the building and that it was now under new ownership.
Luckily, the apartment’s residents were all on the second floor when the attack took place, and no one was injured. However, with a number of homes and schools nearby, police are continuing their investigation in hopes of finding the triggerman.
Sources: Kobe Shimbun Next, NHK News Web, Mainichi Broadcasting System
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