Police unsure if man claiming responsibility is the actual gunman or just a fall guy.

There are a lot of things that can ruin a night out, like a restaurant losing your reservation, tickets for the movie you were hoping to see being sold out, or missing the last train and having to catch an expensive cab home instead. Or, in the case of Junichi Maehara last Saturday, getting shot.

At about 9:15 p.m., the 52-year-old Maehara was walking near his home in the city of Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, about 700 meters (0.4 mile) south of Waki Station, when the attacker opened fire, hitting Maehara multiple times. Why Maehara got shot isn’t currently as clear as the where and when, but it likely stems from his position as a high-ranking lieutenant in the Hyogo Prefecture-based Yamaguchi-gumi yakuza crime syndicate, recognized by Japanese law enforcement agencies as a “designated dangerous criminal organization.”

Following the shooting the gunman fled the scene, and Maehara was able to limp home before collapsing in front of his home’s entryway, where he was discovered by a family member who called the paramedics. Maehara was rushed to the hospital and underwent treatment for the three slugs he’d caught in his abdomen, which had caused damage to his arteries and bone fractures. He was conscious during the ambulance ride, and his injuries, though serious, are not life-threatening.

A search of the crime scene turned up no firearms, but two days later, a little after 10:30 on Monday morning, a lone man walked into the Iwakuni police station and said:

“I am presenting myself in relation to the incident with Mr. Maehara.”

The man, estimated to be in his 30s, was carrying a tote bag with an unloaded revolver in it, and he was immediately arrested for violation of Japan’s Firearms and Swords Control Act, under which essentially the only firearms private citizens are allowed to own are hunting rifles, and even then only with extensive safety training and licensing requirements. However, the man’s implied admission of guilt doesn’t mean this will be an open-and-shut case, as investigators believe he may be a designated fall guy taking the rap for someone else in a rival yakuza group, and are currently in the process of determining who it was that actually pulled the trigger and shot Maehara.

Source: Livedoor News/Abema Times via Jin, Chugoku Shimbun Digital
Top image: Pakutaso
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