Photo: Pakutaso

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

By SoraNews24

In 2011, the Japanese prefectural governments passed Organized Crime Exclusion Ordinances which prohibit companies from doing business with members of organized crime groups. While it’s unreasonable to expect convenience stores to screen every customer for criminal ties, it does make entering legal contracts extremely difficult for members of groups such as the yakuza.

It’s uncertain if this was intentional in the planning of the ordinances or not, but they have been making life increasingly more difficult for yakuza members as more and more services are based on contracts. For example, many yakuza members are finding themselves blackballed when it comes to getting new smartphones, and now it looks as if their days of driving on expressways are numbered as well.

In Japan, expressways require a toll, which traditionally is fed into a machine or toll booth operator who then grants entry. In 1997, Japan introduced the Electronic Toll Collection System (ETC) which allows cars to just whizz through tolls and pay when their transponder detects entry on high-speed roadways.

▼ If your ETC is all set-up then you can just cruise through the gate at about 20 kilometer per hour without stopping.

Thanks to the convenience of ETC and its ability to reduce congestion, in 2020, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced that it intends to replace all toll booths with ETC lanes. It’s planned as a gradual replacement with total ETC saturation across the country envisioned by 2030. This will be very problematic for yakuza members, who will be blocked from signing up for an ETC card.

Actually, gang members have been able to apply for a card due to a loophole in the paperwork. While the terms and conditions state that members who are found to be associated with organized crime will have their membership revoked, there is no wording that forbids a gangster from applying and receiving a card in the first place, amounting to a de facto “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

As a result, nine yakuza members were arrested for having ETC cards between 2015 and 2021, but in each case, the charges were dropped because of the ambiguity of the contract wording. However, the six major highway companies in Japan announced that they would be rectifying this to refuse service to organized crime from the outset.

So, with this shoring up by the ETC operators and modernization of the infrastructure, it looks as if members of the yakuza will have to resort to the long routes when going places. However, some online comments weren’t sure that this was the best course of action when dealing with organized crime, both on practical and ethical grounds.

“It’d be better to ban them from owning cars altogether.”

“They can’t have an ETC, but they can have a driver’s license? Why?”

“It seems like having ETC cards would help the police to track them so maybe they should let them sign up.”

“Do cashless payment services have the same setup? I think the yakuza won’t be able to use those either.”

“Sounds like they’re making the jobs of toll booth collectors more dangerous.”

“Not that I support the yakuza, but even criminals should have human rights.”

“How are they buying cars and insuring them, then?”

We probably shouldn’t put it past organized crime groups to find ways around these ever-tightening restrictions on daily conveniences. Still, with the speed that contract-based services seem to be emerging and evolving, they’ll have a hard time keeping pace.

Sources: Asahi ShimbunHatena BlogNikkan Gendai

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Yakuza bosses struggling to upgrade phones from 3G

-- Member of yakuza arrested for having honest job, dishonest application

-- Japanese Twitter users agree that yakuza members are more Photoshop savvy than the average joe

© SoraNews24

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Sounds again like no thinking and people who write these stories offer no critical thinking whatsoever. It does not matter whose ETC card you use, contract or no contract. The card is not tied to a person or a car.

13 ( +18 / -5 )

How do they know who is yakusa? I hope it’s not like onsen, gyms, etc, “no tattoos allowed” discrimination.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

How do they know who is yakusa? I hope it’s not like onsen, gyms, etc, “no tattoos allowed” discrimination.

Unlike organized crime gangs elsewhere, the police keep an official register of membership in Yakuza groups. The gangs actually have to report this.

The police publish detailed stats on Yakuza membership each year

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I bet the yaks just get someone else to registar a car or card in a differant name, I am pretty sure its easy to get around.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

Cannot understand why authorities are extremely hard against poor foreigners regarding their immigration status and tolerate "organized crime" of local origin. The Yakuza is powerful, with strong influence on all levels of government, so they own several legally established businesses, which includes company cars of all types, everything that is necessary to support their daily fundraising activities. It is quite strange that with all existing technology to be used by intelligence units of the police, there is no sign of a weakening of illegal activities of criminals. I can hardly believe that they will be unable to freely drive wherever they wish.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

Total ETC saturation across the country envisioned by 2030? So even if you only use the expressways very occasionally, you will have to pay to fit an etc machine in all your vehicles?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The Yakuza can employ non-Yakuza drivers.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Simply count their fingers.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Most people posting here would be treated more nicely by yakuza than by Nagoya prison officers.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

Why not charge them double the rate with Punch Perm premium instead of raising taxes for others

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Most people posting here would be treated more nicely by yakuza than by Nagoya prison officers.

That is because most people here probably don’t owe the Yakuza money, haven’t refused to pay them protection money or otherwise given in to their extortion threats, aren’t women trying to escape their prostitution rings, etc.

I would judge them based on how they treat those kinds of people, not random strangers.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Walk into a Yakuza bar and refuse to pay their ripoff prices and you'll be on the end of the stick of their treatment.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

wallaceToday  09:48 am JST

Walk into a Yakuza bar and refuse to pay their ripoff prices and you'll be on the end of the stick of their treatment.

I'll look for one on a well-lit street, with many vending machines. And a television to watch the US manhandle England in the World Cup.

Actually I and a friend have walked into a yakuza establishment once, in Shinjuku, and we refused to pay the exorbitant price. Huge guy came out from behind the curtain.

We didn't fold, and they didn't have a stick--just screamed at us to leave.

So. that was the end of the treatment.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Excellent !!..

Yakz are closer and closer to extinction..

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Such a weird system, what's the point of making so a certain group of people are unable to buy cars or drive on the highway? Just arrest people that does something criminal. All in all it's just a walk around all the illegal business they run, that the police is 100% aware of but are told not to touch, then they make all these weird rules to make it look like they are doing something about it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

When I worked for a well known Eikaiwa chain the Yakuza came in to enquire about English classes. Apprently they wanted to be able to communicate with their "foreign female employees". They demanded ashtrays and smoked during the sales talk. The staff asked me to do a demo lesson but to do it really badly as they didn't want the Yaks as customers. That was the one and only time I have been asked to do a bad lesson - and luckily they didn't sign.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Probably will change to more middlemen, trains, helicopters, and boats.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

There are tons of middlemen, associates, contract workers, gangs, and forced labors within the Yakuza organization. They will not necessarily be on the police registries, they will not be wearing the official Yakuza lapel pins. and they will not be disclosing that they work for the Yakuza.

This rule or law is strictly for show. There are levels to the criminal underworld. Not everyone is an "official Yakuza" member. It is no different than many Japanese companies employing mostly part-time workers. It is cheaper! Being a real Yakuza takes an apprenticeship. Nothing in Japan escapes the senpai/kohai dynamic. For the average modern Japanese person, they realize that there are more options out there, and the apprenticeship is not worth the time and dedication. Most other apprenticeships in "homogenous Japan" do not come with societal prejudice, the possibility of death, or long-term incarceration. None of those situations would guarantee membership. Honestly, the benefits are probably not that great! This is why reports of Yakuza membership has been decreasing over the last few decades. It is also why Yakuza has been working more with other groups (foreign organizations, associates, contractor, and forced labor). If they only counted and used full members then they would look weaker and less intimidating. Fear is the Yakuza's business. Without that fear, the police would also seem even more useless than most of the time.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yakuza are supplying day workers for the Fukushima nuclear disaster site. Guess they'll have to stop using the expressway to get there.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

But the government is allowed to do business with the Yakuza? I assume they need contracts to operate their stalls during festivals, and summer beach houses. And business are allowed to buy their flower arrangements and various omamori to put on their storefronts, to show that they payed their protection money...

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

just find the way to create a yakuza detector infrared ! and maybe you'll be lucky enough to understand who is yakuza or who is not!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

yakuza tattoo detector? no one can be sure about who is yakuza or who is not!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is laughable !!!

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Yakuzas girlfriend or wife, friend, random other person gets ETC card and passes it to Yakuza member...

Well, that wasn't difficult was it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism announced that it intends to replace all toll booths with ETC lanes. It’s planned as a gradual replacement with total ETC saturation across the country envisioned by 2030. 

It's always good to have at least one lane for cash in case you forget your ETC card (which has happened to me on more than one occasion) or have a car without an ETC reader or it's not working properly.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Doesn’t make so much sense. There’s no easier way to catch or surveillance of them if they are fleeing from a crime using a highway. Also there will be a boomerang effect if they are too much pressed into the corner. They’ll then commit new kinds of crime and for example just hijack a car or beat the necessary ETC card out of any nearby people to get one in their possession.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Weird thinking behind this. If the person is a criminal, arrest and prosecute him. Otherwise, do not. This random discrimination based on subjective criteria looks very much like the Chinese "social credit" system. Alas, that is where many Western countries are headed (cf censorship on social media, PayPals imposing "fines" for opinions etc)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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