A look at why the yakuza hitting the books is a sure-fire sign that the economy is hitting rock bottom, by Bloomberg’s William Pesek, with added flavor from Jake Adelstein.
Oct. 7 (Bloomberg) — Japan’s underworld can tell you a lot about what’s happening in the legitimate economy.
Gangsters are on the run as growth wanes and deflation worsens. Yet the oddest development by far involves yakuza members sitting for exams covering key aspects of their work.
If you think this is just a law-enforcement issue, think again. It’s a sign Japan’s funk will be longer than economists predict. That may surprise those betting Japan is recovering. Oddly, though, the plight of gangsters tells the story.
Huddled over legal texts and documents isn’t the popular image of Japan’s storied mobsters. When they aren’t collecting debts, shaking down shop owners, overseeing prostitution rings or rigging stocks, members of Japan’s biggest organized crime group, Yamaguchi-gumi, are studying for 12-page tests.
Yakuza’s Series 7 Exam Is Harbinger for Economy [via Bloomberg]