Former Yakuza Takes Two Female Staff Hostage in Post Office Standoff | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Former Yakuza Takes Two Female Staff Hostage in Post Office Standoff

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Suzuki, a suspect who was sent to the Warabi Police Station in Saitama Prefecture immediately after his first arrest.

“When the police caught me, I burned something I didn’t want them to see.”

The elderly suspect reportedly admits to the crime during police interrogation.

On December 27 last year, just before the end of the year, the Saitama Prefectural Police arrested Tsuneo Suzuki, 87, an unemployed man, on suspicion of arson of an existing building. This is the fourth time the suspect has been arrested.


Suzuki allegedly set fire to his apartment in October last year, completely burning it down. Immediately after that, he held a staff member hostage at the Warabi Post Office for about eight hours. He was arrested on suspicion of violating the Hostage Extortion Punishment Law. He was also arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and violation of the Firearms Control Law for shooting a gun at police officers.

FRIDAY Digital reported in detail on the stand-in incident committed by the suspect Suzuki in an article distributed last November 3. We would like to recount how Suzuki, who belonged to a gang, committed the crime (some parts of the article have been corrected).

Doctor and Patient Suffer Head Injuries from Shots Fired

An elderly man’s murderous act enveloped the city in fear in broad daylight.

Shortly after 2:00 p.m. on October 31 last year,  the suspect, Suzuki, took female employees in their 20s and 30s hostage at a post office in Warabi City, Saitama Prefecture, and holed up there for about eight hours. The suspect was arrested after being holed up for about eight hours. A large number of media gathered at the site of the siege, and the tense situation was broadcast nationwide via television.

An hour before the incident caused by suspect Suzuki, a fire broke out in Suzuki’s apartment in Toda City. Fifteen minutes after the fire, a shooting incident occurred at Toda Chuo General Hospital, where a male doctor in his 40s and a male patient in his 60s suffered head injuries. Suzuki admitted involvement in both arson and the shooting during police interrogation.

What kind of person was this Suzuki suspect who committed a series of vicious crimes in just one day? A neighbor of the suspect’s house revealed the following.

The suspect’s apartment. Residents in other rooms had evacuated.

“When I was on my way to the supermarket, Mr. Suzuki asked me if I wanted to go shopping. I had the impression that he was a friendly person. Later, I saw Mr. Suzuki again during the summer. He was wiping himself with a towel on the grounds of his apartment. He was naked on his upper body, but I could see tattoos on his arms and back. I got the impression that he was a bit scary.”

A post office where a stand-in occurred. The hostage, a female employee in her 20s, was released, and another employee in her 30s escaped on her own.

A tattoo of the Suzuki suspect was seen by a neighborhood resident. According to one gangster, (Suzuki) used to be a member of a secondary organization of a designated gang, but he left the organization about 30 years ago after being excommunicated. Crime journalist Taihei Ogawa speculated.

“The 1980s were a time of intense gang conflicts, where anyone could join a gang just by applying, and each member was provided with a handgun. However, about 30 years ago, after the frequent gang conflicts settled down, there was an increasing crackdown on organized crime. This coincided with the period when suspect Suzuki left the gang.

In this case, the suspect has confessed to possessing a handgun since the old days, likely having kept the one received from the gang. Moreover, many former Yakuza members, who often do not contribute to pension insurance, cannot receive a pension. Those who cannot engage in legitimate businesses lead a financially challenging life after leaving the Yakuza.”

The hospital where the shooting took place. A doctor and two patients were injured.

The suspect, Suzuki, was reportedly having trouble with rent arrears at the apartment he was living in. It is believed that he had been living a hunted down life since leaving the group and had become desperate. However, this does not excuse him from committing a series of vicious crimes. Mr. Ogawa continues, “The suspect was punished for extorting hostages.

The suspect was urgently arrested on suspicion of violating the Hostage Extortion Punishment Law, but he has also been charged with multiple counts of violating the Firearms Control Law, damaging property, and even inflicting injury. With the additional charge of attempted murder, he could face life imprisonment.

An impoverished life is no excuse for committing a serious crime. Does the suspect Suzuki realize the gravity of his crime?

  • PHOTO Shinji Hasuo

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