According to this month’s Jitsuwajidai, a yakuza fanzine, and other sources, late last year the National Police Agency sent out a notice to every Prefectural Police Headquarters, notifying them that they expected each police department to arrest no less than 20 yakuza a month.
Even if you estimate the number of yakuza members in Japan at 80,000–that still seems like a hard quota to fill, especially in smaller cities in Japan where the yakuza presence may be slim. Police officers in Saitama, while not confirming the exact number, said about the quota, “It’s not an easy number to fill. It almost makes you wish there was a gang war between the Sumiyoshi-kai and the Yamaguchi-gumi again….just kidding. Sort of.” However, officers in Osaka said, “20? We could do that in a week. This town is infested with yakuza. On loan sharking charges alone we can round up twenty.”
The National Police Agency would not comment and it is unclear whether the quota is actually for the police headquarters of each Tokyo, Hokkaido, Osaka, Kyoto and the other 43 prefectures or the police stations within each Police HQ’s turf. One thing is for certain, when the NPA starts establishing quotas on cracking down on something, they’re very serious about it.
One thing that hasn’t changed though is the tradition of designating certain months of the year Special Concentrated Crackdown On Organized Crime Month(集中取り締まり月間). In the old days, the organized crime control cops (known as マル暴刑事・marubokeiji) would call up the local crime bosses and warn them to be on their best behavior. In the last two years, that practice has ceased almost completely. The days when crackdowns on the Japanese mafia were done with civility and decorum appear to be a thing of the past. Even raids on gang headquarters are now often done without advance warning. Times are changing.