In the hope of jump-starting the economy, the government has earmarked some 2 trillion yen this fiscal year in the form of direct handouts and other subsidies.
According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, all Japanese with legally registered domiciles, as well as foreign nationals, who were registered on or before Feb 1, 2009 will eligible for the handouts.
The standard amount will be 12,000 yen per person, with those over age 65 or under age 18 receiving 20,000 yen. A household consisting of a married couple with two children under 18, for example, would receive 64,000 yen.
When the question was posed as to whether the approximately 80,000 members of the nation's 22 designated criminal syndicates -- referred to in the media as “boryokudan” -- will also be on the receiving end of the government’s largess, the answer was, almost certainly yes. When and if the system is implemented, simple mathematics says that 960 million yen will move from the national treasury to members of organized criminal syndicates.
Apparently, Sankei Shimbun (Feb 15) reports, the hoods are hurting as badly as everyone else.
“With the recession, the gangsters’ means of generating revenues are way down,” says attorney Yukio Yamanouchi, a former adviser to the Kobe-based Yamaguchi-gumi, the nation’s largest syndicate. “Whatever activities they attempt, they’ll be nabbed by police. So they’re really between a rock and a hard place.”
While it’s possible some hoods may waive the handout, Yamanouchi thinks they’ll accept it. “Even though the amount isn’t that big, I suppose they’ll be glad to receive it,” he shrugs.
The above exception notwithstanding, the article notes that the general trend to bar gangsters from public services, such as welfare payments, has been accelerating. In March 2006, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare issued guidelines to prevent welfare subsidy payments from falling into the hands of members of criminal syndicates. Other measures, such as exclude gangsters from public housing, have also been adopted on a nationwide basis.
Despite such efforts, an Osaka municipal official tells Sankei he’s concerned part of the handouts are indeed likely to flow into yakuza coffers.
An unnamed police official agrees. “Not only is there a chance the gangs will get their hands on some funds via indirect means, but it’s extremely vexing to think that even the top boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi will be entitled to receive tax money. As long as there’s no means of excluding gang members from receiving handouts, all we can do is devise other methods to keep the gangs from using the handouts as a source of revenues.”© Japan Today