TOKYO, July 17 (RAPSI) - A former restaurant owner from Nagoya filed the first civil lawsuit in Japan’s history against the boss of the country’s largest Yakuza syndicate “Yamaguchi-gumi”. Boss Kenichi Shinoda now faces a claim demanding full compensation for money allegedly extorted by his cohorts under threats of violence.

Shinoda got out of jail in April 2011, where he spent 6 years for possession of illegal weapons.

According to the case materials, the owner of the restaurant had to pay a monthly “protection” fee of 30 to 100 thousand yen to the local crime ring, operating under the “Yamaguchi-gumi” franchise. The payments continued from 1998 through 2010.

As the defense attorneys claim, when the woman finally refused the payment, she was threatened with arson. Now, the former restaurateur demands a compensation of 17 million yen ($175,000), as well as 5 million yen ($50,000) in moral damage , from the Yamaguchi’s boss.

This is the first precedent of an entrepreneur trying to get compensation for the money paid to a criminal enterprise for “protection”. The law which makes the bosses personally responsible for their subordinates’ actions was passed in Japan in 2008. However this is not the first civil claim filed against the Yakuza members. Earlier this summer a bar owner sued the Yakuza memebers for torching his establishment after he refused to pay up.

The Japanese police reports that presently 41 thousand people can be considered “core members” of the Yakuza. Almost half of them are affiliated with the Yamaguchi-gumi. The main sources of income for the yakuza clans are illegal gambling, racketeering, prostitution, and various financial scams.