Tokyo Vice review by Dan Scheraga

Here they come, hopefully one in a long line of reviews!

“Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan” (Pantheon Books, 352 pages, $26), by Jake Adelstein: A journalist is supposed to observe and report his story, not become part of it. But by the time Jake Adelstein found himself face to face with an enforcer for one of Japan’s most vicious mafia gangs, it was too late.

“Erase the story or be erased,” was the yakuza’s message. “Your family, too.”

It was an offer Adelstein couldn’t refuse. As a Tokyo crime reporter for the Yomiuri Shinbun, Adelstein’s tirelessness and loyalty had won him respect and trust on both sides of the law as well as at Japan’s largest newspaper. But when an organized crime boss threatens to kill you and your family, it’s time to go, Adelstein reasoned.

He packed up and left Japan with his story. It was a fantastic one, too. Yakuza heavyweight Tamagata Goto had sold out his own gang to the FBI in order to receive a liver transplant in the U.S. ahead of ailing American citizens. But as juicy as the story was, it wasn’t worth dying over.

That changed when Goto came after Adelstein again, putting the two quite literally in a fight to the death. Writing his story could get Adelstein killed, but it was the only weapon he had that could stop Goto.

Review: When an American journalist gets too close to his story on Japan’s yakuza, all bets are off [Associated Press via the San Francisco Examiner]