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Yakuza boss arrested for making supermarket point card

20 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

Smart shoppers in Japan know that one of the easiest ways to cut down on household expenses is through point cards. Nearly every chain of supermarket, pharmacy, and convenience store in the country offers such loyalty programs, where you can earn a percentage of every purchase in points that you can spend on subsequent shopping trips, all by showing or swiping your card at the register.

These programs don’t charge any sort of annual fees, either, so there’s no real downside to joining them. Well, there’s usually no downside. Takuya Machinaga’s case is a rare exception, though, as signing up for a point card at a Nagoya supermarket has got the 73-year-old man arrested last week.

Why? Well, in addition to being a senior citizen, Machinaga is also a yakuza member, and not a rank-and-file one either. He’s a boss in the Yamaguchigumi’s Aichi Prefecture arm, and it turns out that “yakuza member” isn’t a status you can hold at the same time as “point card member” at the supermarket Machinaga shopped at.

The yakuza-members-not-allowed rule is spelled out in the sign-up paperwork for the card, within a section titled “Exclusion of Anti-Social Organizations.” The clause is something many ordinary citizens may not be conscious of, since the section in its entirety is something the vast majority of the population can skip reading without fear of repercussions, but if you are a mobster, it’s definitely the sort of fine print you should get out your reading glasses for. Clauses prohibiting members of criminal organizations from forming membership contracts or other agreements with law-abiding businesses are actually fairly commonplace in Japan, such as the ones making it difficult for yakuza to upgrade their old mobile phones.

While it’s not illegal for yakuza to shop at supermarkets, any longer-lasting arrangement with the store than individual purchases could land the store in legal trouble, and store credit-accruing point cards, being a kind of quasi currency, are likely something businesses are strictly prohibited from knowingly issuing to mobsters. Because of this, sign-up documents for point cards and other memberships are usually structured such that submitting the paperwork acts as a legal declaration by the applicant that they are not a member of a criminal organization. This makes Machinaga’s point card application, in the eyes of the law, fraud, which is the charge he has been arrested for.

Machinaga applied for, and was issued, his supermarket point card in 2020. He claims he was unaware of the no-yakuza clause, though it seems like something someone in his line of work should have been aware of. Regardless of whether or not he can escape legal punishment, though, it looks like his days of discount grocery shopping are over, and this is another example of how the real-world yakuza lifestyle isn’t always as glamourous as it’s made out to be in movies and video games.

Source: CBC News via Livedoor News via Jin

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- 10 yakuza members arrested for stealing sea cucumbers from ocean

-- Yakuza bosses struggling to upgrade phones from 3G

-- Yakuza may be blocked from using all expressways in Japan within the decade

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

20 Comments
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While it’s not illegal for yakuza to shop at supermarkets

It should be. Even if the Yakuza member just buys an onigiri, the shop is doing business with yakuza - which is illegal.

-5 ( +11 / -16 )

Thankfully they don't clause that forbid foreigners or someone with tattoo

-2 ( +8 / -10 )

It should be. Even if the Yakuza member just buys an onigiri, the shop is doing business with yakuza - which is illegal.

This opinion is just wrong on so many levels. One the Yakuza are not outlawed in Japan. So in effect you are looking to "ban" someone based upon their membership, in a perfectly legal organization.

3 ( +12 / -9 )

 it turns out that “yakuza member” isn’t a status you can hold at the same time as “point card member” at the supermarket Machinaga shopped at.

ok, that made me chuckle.

“you think you can get 1-3% points here, Yak? Are you out yo gosh dang mind?!?!?”

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Ok, he was arrested. What will his likely sentence be? My guess-nothing or suspended. Waste of the taxpayers money.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

This opinion is just wrong on so many levels. One the Yakuza are not outlawed in Japan. So in effect you are looking to "ban" someone based upon their membership, in a perfectly legal organization.

Yakuza members are indeed banned from holding bank accounts, credit cards, points cards (as seen here) and even legally obtaining cellphones. (Of course these scum do have devious ways to get around these bans on them. )

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Great. The actual article starts at the last paragraph.

My mistake though, if only I checked if it was Sora News first

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Yakuza members are indeed banned from holding bank accounts, credit cards, points cards (as seen here) and even legally obtaining cellphones. (Of course these scum do have devious ways to get around these bans on them. )

I remember when I used to work part time in the moving industry, met this skinny thug in the team, we talked and he was ok, so on the very next day he proceeded to Line me asking if he could "borrow" my name to buy a cell phone for someone.

Now. Imagine if I wasnt aware of the law, especially regarding Yakuza stuff. Next day cops would be banging on my door to arrest me for assisting a crime syndicate.

I told him I didnt have a visa and couldnt even buy a cellphone for myself. Pheew

5 ( +7 / -2 )

At the supermarket I go every once in a while an old clunky black Toyota Crown with blacked out windows and a about a hundred stickers all over it is parked on the pedestrians crossing spot at the very entrance were shoppers go in and out and NO parking is allowed, NO one bothers, NO one cares, and NO one even looks, as if it's not even there.

Me thinking about if this was in LA or New York there will be a fight first, then a police show.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Yakuza members are indeed banned from holding bank accounts, credit cards, points cards (as seen here) and even legally obtaining cellphones. (Of course these scum do have devious ways to get around these bans on them. )

But none of these have to do with being able to purchase food from a store. So what's your point?

The government has not nor can, with the current laws, "outlaw" the Yakuza as an organization, but none of that keeps them from having the basic human right to feed themselves.

If we take it a step further, the comment I replied to was in regards to this statement:

Even if the Yakuza member just buys an onigiri, the shop is doing business with yakuza - which is illegal.

So how is a shop keeper going to discern between who is Yakuza and who isn't? Are they going to "card" anyone and everyone, when they shop there? Are they going to do a police check?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Sorry Mr. Yakuza.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

How does one recognise a Yakuza member, is by counting his fingers and tattoos?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Part of me thinks that this is a fairly nit-picking offense.

But after I remembered that Yak are a cancer on polite society. That they traffick in drugs and women and victimize the vulnerable, I have decided that I am ok with it.

Throw the book (such as it is) at him.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Way of the Househusband, now fiction becomes reality.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Smart shoppers in Japan know that one of the easiest ways to cut down on household expenses is through point cards.

Ehh, no. You get what, 0,3% or, 0,1% cashback/return usually? Worst system ever, and definitely not worth the hassle setting it up, giving them your details or having to carry around paper cards or setting it up in Google pay anyway.

Example from the Life grocery store:

In 4-5 months, having spent roughly 15000 yen on groceries every week, I'm left with less than 500 yens worth of points.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Does he now see the point of his crime?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Machinaga applied for, and was issued, his supermarket point card in 2020. 

Oh, he just applied for one? From the headline I thought he "made" one, i.e. encoded the magnetic strip. That would been impressive for a Saitama oyabun.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When I read the headline I thought he had created a scam or fraud using points cards. Not so. Times must be hard for Yakuza.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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