Sword-wielding man was travelling with fake passports, French police say

A sword-wielding man who’d spent days claiming to be part of the violent Japanese cult the Yakuza was shot and arrested by French police early Saturday morning.

According to Reuters, the man, identified as 36-year-old Yota Yoshida of the Japanese city of Fukuoka, had been attempting to board a flight out of Paris’ Orly airport when he was confronted by French security forces. A police spokesman told Reuters the man “had a sharp sword” with him. He was expected to survive his injuries.

Yoshida claimed to be part of the radical Japanese group the Yakuza, best known for their large member-base and violent reputation, including a practice of kidnapping foreigners for the Yakuza’s purposes. In particular, they have been linked to the killings of at least 20 prostitutes.

The Yakuza is a Japanese organized crime group that operates in 37 different countries.

Many of its members hail from the country’s working-class neighborhood of Suzaki. Some have actually gone on to be successful businessmen and lawmakers; but others see them as a parasitic establishment with no respect for the law.

Sukiro Oka, alias “Kanon,” a former member of the far-right League of the South who fled to France after being convicted of murder, is widely believed to be the founder of the Yakuza. In 2015, French prosecutors said they believed he was the real leader of the Yakuza, though the group has denied this.

Even though Yoshida was not affiliated with any actual organized crime group, he was also not carrying proper travel documents, which is against French law.

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