Here
and
Now

kuchikomi

Yakuza pundit: New laws unlikely to eradicate gangs

36 Comments

On Oct 1, prefectural-level anti-gang ordinances went into effect in Tokyo and Okinawa -- the last two of Japan's 47 prefectures to adopt such laws. Are they likely to have an effect? Takarajima (December) carries a two-page interview with 69-year-old investigative journalist Atsushi Mizoguchi, a prolific writer on the subject of the yakuza and regarded by many as Japan's most authoritative author on organized crime.

Takarajima: Will the wholesale enforcement of the new anti-gang ordinances in all 47 of Japan's prefectures from Oct 1 eradicate the "boryokudan" (gangs)?

Mizoguchi: Probably not. The new law does not penalize the boryokudan, but the citizens. In a Sankei Shimbun interview around the beginning of October, Shinobu Tsukasa, head of the Yamaguchi-gumi, was quoted as saying "We are not the least bit worried by the adoption of the new law."

Even though former National Police Agency head Takaharu Ando (who announced his retirement on Oct 17), while claiming that the gangs had been weakened, would not go so far as to suggest they will be eradicated. You also find organized crime syndicates in Germany, Italy, France, South Korea and so on, and laws exist in those countries banning the operation of, or membership in, such groups. If Japan were to modify its Criminal Code to state, "Organized crime groups are forbidden," it would be simple. I suppose that would be the only way to get rid of them.

Why do the gangs continue to exist?

In the Edo period, the police sergeants and constables depended on paid informers as their "unofficial deputies." Many of these were heads of "bakuto" (gambler) and "tekiya" (peddler) groups who became the forerunners of the modern-day yakuza. Police even authorized them to carry a "jitte" (a stubby metal baton carried as a symbol of authority). This gave the police two irons in the fire, so to speak, by utilizing known criminals as their sources of information about crime. So these men were useful in helping to maintain order, and their special status led to the creation of the yakuza mystique. After the war, yakuza also served the establishment by battling against the excesses of former colonials who dominated the black market, and in 1960, during the struggle over the Japan-U.S. Security Treaty, they joined forces with right-wing groups to suppress leftist demonstrators.

The Anti-Gang Law that went into force in 1992 failed to root out the ambiguities that existed in Japan. It is absurd to expect that law, or the new ordinances that have just gone into effect, will eradicate the yakuza. While I don't have the actual figures, I am certain the organized crime sections in the police have increased their manpower. I would say the maintaining of such numbers are the police's subtle way of indicating they still want the boryokudan to stick around.

So what you're saying then is that the boryokudan will continue to exist in the future.

Since the first eradication campaign by the police in 1964, nearly 50 years have passed, and despite up and down fluctuations in the total number of gang members, the yakuza have barely budged an inch. They have even improved their situations through better organizing. This has also led to the three major syndicates that were once local organizations -- the Yamaguchi-gumi, Inagawa-kai and Sumiyoshi Rengo -- taking over more territory and focusing their strengths.

Saying that boryokudan can be eradicated is like asserting pigs can fly. If the police find themselves in the kind of situation they now face, it means the gangs aren't going to go away. That said, I think the ultimate fate of the gangs has already been sealed. This will come about not through the results of police investigations or dragnets, but simply in synch with the decline of the Japanese economy. Since the gangs are a parasite that lives off the economy, when that economy slumps, the gangs' economy will necessarily decline as well. That's all there is to it.

© Japan Today

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

36 Comments
Login to comment

It definitely won't get rid of gangs, but it will hamper their ability to raise money through front companies. It will also hamper the pressure they can put on legit companies to use yakuza backed companies or suffer harassment.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The thinking behind the law is to go far any company or individual which supports their organised crimes.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

OREYAAA ^_^

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Why do the gangs continue to exist? Now that's funny.. racketeering, stock manipulation, drug trade, prostitution, AV porn..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Who will sell the gold fish at the local matsuri?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

The solution is pathetically simple.

Don't go to pachinko.

Don't go to "Soaplands."

Don't use the "Fashion Health (massage parlors)."

If nobody bought the "services" of these guys, they'd collapse over night.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@johninnaha

Yakuza activity goes much further than pachinko and massage parlors:

extortion through "protection" money, one of their main source of income (in some areas, most of the businesses pay money to them).

large scale extortion of big companies (through investments in banks and publicly traded companies) (for example, it was estimated than 1 trillion of debt in Japanese banks is owned by yakuza-related companies)

loan-sharking

human trafficking (hidden prostitution rings using kidnapped girls)

drug trafficking

weapons smuggling
5 ( +7 / -2 )

Crims are crims and they wont simply stop existing because of some new law, it takes more than laws to halt the gangs. The gangs dont give a damn about the laws new or old thats why they exist.

Idiots in Govt think if they pass a law it stops the people from doing the crime ?

Did they outlaw prostitution? Yes ! Did it stop prostitution ? no !

Did they outlaw drugs ? Yes ! Did it stop the druggies ? No !

Did they outlaw gangs ? Yes ! Will it stop gangs ? NO !

0 ( +3 / -2 )

Piglet - you are quite right, of course.

I'm sure there are more.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is absurd to expect that law, or the new ordinances that have just gone into effect, will eradicate the yakuza. While I don’t have the actual figures, I am certain the organized crime sections in the police have increased their manpower. I would say the maintaining of such numbers are the police’s subtle way of indicating they still want the boryokudan to stick around.

Huh?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Did they outlaw prostitution? Yes ! Did it stop prostitution ? no !

Keep in mind that prostitution was not outlawed by Japan directly, that came from the US after WWII and the occupation of Japan. Blame the US for that god awful law.

I have a number of friends that are associated with and or work with the Yakuza, I know what they do and they know I do as well, but that doesn't stop me from being friends with them on a social basis only. The ones I know are pretty decent folks and are a hell of a lot of fun to party with!

-7 ( +0 / -7 )

If Japan were to modify its Criminal Code to state, “Organized crime groups are forbidden,” it would be simple. I suppose that would be the only way to get rid of them.

So why don't they just do that then?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So why don't they just do that then?

The police aren't prepared to have a bloodbath on their hands AND have a large percentage of their force indicted along with the Yakuza as well. Face saving.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Yakuza re like flies. swish at them with a rolled up newspaper and they just fly off and land somewhere else. Yubaru, you're a blatant liar or a halfwit... then again probably both. Just the fact that you can say drivel like, "the ones I know are pretty decent folk' proves to me at least you don't know what your talking about and using this forum to aggrandize and fantasize. Nobody gets involved with these people, at least not 'normal' people so where does that put you?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

@Yubaru

I have a number of friends that are associated with and or work with the Yakuza, I know what they do and they know I do as well, but that doesn't stop me from being friends with them on a social basis only. The ones I know are pretty decent folks and are a hell of a lot of fun to party with!

I wonder if you also boast to your family that you hang out with scum that are involved in people smuggling, pushing drugs, kiddie porn, and generally leaching off society. Do you feel proud?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

johninnahaOct. 31, 2011 - 02:18PM JST The solution is pathetically simple. Don't go to pachinko. Don't go to "Soaplands." Don't use the "Fashion Health (massage parlors)." If nobody bought the "services" of these guys, they'd collapse over night.

Hardly. The range of legitimate business that these guys are now involved with is so vast that the shady stuff is pretty insignificant any longer.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Japanese politicians were 'puppets' or 'speakers' of organised crime criminals! The entire so-called Japanese democracies was nothing but 'money laundering'! All politicians need money for their electioon campaigns, only those yakuzas willing to make 'generous' donations! In return laws were made suitable to gurantee the interest of yakuza shall goes unharmed! This is their dirty deal and thats why all counter-organised crime measures were just symbolic instead of real power to sanction crimes! Those japanese rightists driving vans or trucks mounting with loud speakers on top yelling xenophobic slogans were also the political wing of yakuzas, these openly made verbal threats on the street were tolerated by politicians was because they know who their bosss was and where their 'milk' was from! Japan was nothing a 'lawful' or a 'democratic country but an entire loudsy show! Their politicians were spineless and despisable for the sake of political donantions or 'dirty money'!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@SeriouslyCreamy; hey look believe what you want to believe but not all Yakuza are cut from the same cloth, and not all participate in the hard core crime that you are talking about either.

You evidently look at a person for what they are and not who they are.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The Yakuza will always be with us... like gonorrhea

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@yubaru hey look believe what you want to believe but not all Yakuza are cut from the same cloth, and not all participate in the hard core crime that you are talking about either. You evidently look at a person for what they are and not who they are.

You didn't answer his question, do you boast to your family that you have friends that are members of Yakuza.

Moderator: Readers do not have to answer your questions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@No living, creamy didnt actually ask me that question but since you have I will answer you.

I don't generally talk about it because they don't ask and don't know either. However like I said, I do not find people guilty of crimes by association in this case, and why you may ask, because I have personally seen members of the Yakuza assist and defend people in difficult situations with no repercussions or expectations of anything in return afterwards.

I treat people as individuals and not by who they associate with, and I don't judge people either for the choices they make in their lives, whether I agree or not.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

@darkbob, you don't know me, nor I you, yet you choose to slander me without knowing anything about the what I am talking about other than what I wrote here.

Your condescending comments not withstanding, and which I will overlook here for now, yet I will educated you a bit about life and people.

Take a person out of their environment and you will get the opportunity to know them on a different level. Not all Yakuza are a part of the three main groups centered in mainland, there are others as well on a local level living and working on outer islands.

There is a different personality with people born and raised in an island culture, and my son you probably wouldn't know a Yakuza there even if they came up and bit you in the arse.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Readers, please keep the discussion civil. Focus your comments on the story and not at each other.

@darkbob, you don't know me, nor I you, yet you choose to slander me without knowing anything about the what I am talking about other than what I wrote here.

Your condescending comments not withstanding, and which I will overlook here for now, yet I will educated you a bit about life and people.

Take a person out of their environment and you will get the opportunity to know them on a different level. Not all Yakuza are a part of the three main groups centered in mainland, there are others as well on a local level living and working on outer islands.

There is a different personality with people born and raised in an island culture, and my son you probably wouldn't know a Yakuza there even if they came up and bit you in the arse.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Better to learn from other countries... USA wanted to ban the drugs in Latin America so the providers could not be able to sell drug to USA, results? Colombia and Mexico are bathed in blood due to the violence and USA drug addicts still get their drug.

The narcos in Mexico have a story of corruption and treatments with political parties in the 70s, 80s and 90s, those that who not go along with the goverment were sent to jail. When there was a party change in the goverment, the president was pressed to erradicate the drug lords, and the peace was erradicated instead...

Hope that japanese goverment would never try to pull the string to the yakuza to evolve to violence, at least yakuza gangs have some sense of honor...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

at least yakuza gangs have some sense of honor...

Part of the reason the new laws were put into place is based upon the fact that many within the Yakuza are now acting like chinpira, or plain street thugs, and have lost or no longer care about NOT involving the common person in their activities.

There is a long history of cooperation between the police and Yakuza and many of the older members from what I have been told rue the changes that have come over them and the need for the NPA to crack down on them.

They used to stay out of each other's way in the land of grey interpretation of the law here.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Most Japanese police are not a corrupt as police back in the USA, Mexico etc..I hope. This is one huge difference, but human nature is that $$$ talks and BS walks, so I really doubt this problem will be resolved any time soon. IMHO.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Most Japanese police are not a corrupt as police back in the USA, Mexico etc..I hope

This coming from the person that called Japanese police guilty of being child molesters, amongst a host of other unfounded things? I find it difficult to understand which side of the fence you sit on when it comes to topics regarding the police, particularly after you branded them all as being guilty in previous posts.

This problem will mostly affect those in business, particularly those in any that are alcohol related.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Drug gangs here in Ireland under investigation were stripped of their illgotten assets through the introduction of C.A.B, Criminal Assets Board. Suspected criminals have to prove that the property they own and cash stowed in bank accounts is aquired legaly within their financial means. Failure to account, results in the siezure of all surpluses. In the past these gangs paid in cash for houses, cars ect, now any such purchases may be investigated. It is now much more difficult to aquire a bank account in order to facilitate money laundering, My question would be, does Japan have the same legislation, but if not could it be introduced?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My question would be, does Japan have the same legislation, but if not could it be introduced?

No and no, that's the simple answer.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

If there is one thing the police fear more than organised crime, it would probably be disorganised crime.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan needs an organization like the FBI which can investigate with better trained men and equipment (since it's nationalized). Also, it can act as an overseer to local police departments.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Japan needs an organization like the FBI which can investigate with better trained men and equipment (since it's nationalized). Also, it can act as an overseer to local police departments

.I think you are unfamiliar with the NPA or National Police Agency here in Japan. There are no local police departments per say, everything falls under one umbrella here, there are no county sheriffs, state police, city cops, separated by different jurisdictions.

The NPA has it all inclusive, the Japanese version of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and local cop all come under one agency.

You wouldnt want the NPA coming and investigating you, they will take literally anything and everything they "think" might be related to what they are investigating, even your the t-shirts in your closet if they so deem it and there is little if anything you can do to stop them.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese politicians were 'puppets' or 'speakers' of organised crime criminals! The entire so-called Japanese democracies was nothing but 'money laundering'! All politicians need money for their electioon campaigns, only those yakuzas willing to make 'generous' donations! In return laws were made suitable to gurantee the interest of yakuza shall goes unharmed! This is their dirty deal and thats why all counter-organised crime measures were just symbolic instead of real power to sanction crimes! Those japanese rightists driving vans or trucks mounting with loud speakers on top yelling xenophobic slogans were also the political wing of yakuzas, these openly made verbal threats on the street were tolerated by politicians was because they know who their bosss was and where their 'milk' was from! Japan was nothing a 'lawful' or a 'democratic country but an entire loudsy show! Their politicians were spineless and despisable for the sake of political donantions or 'dirty money'!

So just like American politicians and corporations?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I think it's telling that local ordinances have been brought in against the yakuza, rather than laws passed nationally. That tells you everything about Japanese politicians, doesn't it?

I personally think that making it illegal to support organised crime is an intelligent way to try and address the problem, but I also have this niggling doubt. Isn't this victimising the victims? Say you set up a business and the local gang sends someone round to politely suggest you start making your contributions. You are afraid, for your business, yourself and those around you. Who is going to protect you from the yakuza if you say no? There has to be a huge push on the part of the police to convince the public that they are capable of and are going to protect ordinary people who start to say no. Even tougher if you're already being extorted. Otherwise the victims are going to be ordinary people.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Sorry Yubaru, just because I think Japanese police are not as bad as Mexican or US police does not mean I think they are all angels here in Japan, there are stupid, corrupt police here in Japan too, just trying to say that not as bad as say down in Mexico or over in the USA etc..ok??

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites