A gang rift has forced a Yakuza syndicate to cancel an annual Halloween trick or treat event for children.

The Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi gang traditionally hold community events throughout the year, including a Halloween event where children are invited to attend dressed in their scariest costumes, reported the Japan Times.

However the crime syndicate, which is one of the most powerful in Japan, has had to cancel the event this year after a split gave rise to fears of a war between rival factions.

In a notice on its office doors the gang said it would not be holding this year's Halloween event, but did not explain why.

"The Halloween event that has taken place annually on 31 October will be cancelled this year due to various reasons," the notice read, reported the Sankei newspaper. "We regret disappointing parents and children looking forward to the event, but we promise to resume it next year."

A member of the gang, who spoke anonymously, told The Daily Beast: "We don't want to take a chance that some innocent child is embroiled in violence. That would be unforgivable."

Japanese Yakuza gangs, whose members are famed for their elaborate tattoos, operate drugs, prostitution and gambling rackets, among other criminal operations. Each group has a headquarters in the area it controls. The Yamaguchi-gumi gang has also cultivated good relations with locals, providing food, blankets and shelter to those affected by the 2011 tsunami and Fukushima nuclear station disaster.

Last month senior members of the Yamaguchi-gumi left the gang, forming a splinter group. This has led to fears of the brutal internecine gang feuds of the 1980s re-emerging.