As a part of broader initiatives to expel organized crime from business, new “yakuza exclusion” provisions by the Japan Tourism Agency (JTA) go into effect today.
The JTA maintains a “Model Accommodation Contract”, which serves as a widely-accepted set of guidelines recommended for hotels, ryokans, and other lodging facilities.
The agency explains on its website: “As anti-social forces threaten the physical and financial safety of tourists and the hotels themselves, we have enacted new provisions to our existing laws.”
Along with informative stipulations such as “guests may be turned away if there is no vacancy” and “guests may be turned away if equipment breakdowns occur due to a natural disaster”, a new clause states that if a guest is discovered to be an organized crime member, their hotel reservation may be cancelled or they can be turned away. Additionally, they can also be kicked out. Guests may also be asked to leave they act in a violent manner or if they make “considerable trouble” at the hotel.
According to an article in the Asahi Shinbun, the National Police Agency had called for such measures to be taken since 2006. Police hope that such a measure, finally in place, will spread through the rest of the country. Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association, for example, had already implemented such measures. This association of hotels is located in Kobe, which is also the home of the Yamagumi-guchi.
Sado-san of the Japan Tourism Agency, who is coy about his first name, stated that there was no reason in particular that the Agency has decided to implement these provision now; he refers to the ongoing dialogue concerning such provisions that the agency has had with the police over the past few years. Kind of a, “just getting around to it” sort of thing, it seems.
The below excerpts of the contract are taken from the English version online.
Article 5 – Refusal of the Conclusion of the Accommodation Contract
05.01. The following are cases where our Hotel (Ryokan) will not accept the conclusion of the Accommodation Contract:
(4) When the Guest seeking accommodation is considered to be corresponding to the following (a) to (c).
(a) The law in respect to prevention, etc. against illegal actions by gang members (1991 Law item 77)
stipulated article 2 item 2 (hereinafter referred to as “gang group”.), gang member stipulated by the
same law article 2 item 6 (hereinafter referred to as “gang member.”), gang group semi-regular
members or gang member related persons and other antisocial forces.
(b) When gang group or gang members are associates of corporations or other bodies to control
(c) When a corporate body has related persons to gang members.
Article 7 – The Right of Our Hotel (Ryokan) to Cancel the Contract
07.01. The following are cases where our Hotel (Ryokan) may cancel the Accommodation Contract:
(2) When the Guest is clearly considered to be corresponding to the following (a) to (c).
(a) Gang group, gang group semi-regular members or gang member related persons and other
(b) When a corporate body or other organization where gang groups or gang members control business
(c) In a corporate body which has persons relevant to gang member in its board member.
Jake’s notes: Most major hotels in Japan since 2009 have embedded an anti-organized crime exclusionary clause into the overnight stay contracts guests sign when checking in. A yakuza member who signs in as a hotel guest and conceals his/her yakuza affiliation can then be arrested for fraud, if the hotel agreement has that clause. The anti-organized crime clause was the brain-child of deceased lawyer, and former prosecutor Igari Toshiro. This contractual clause was used this year to arrest the second highest ranking member of the Yamaguchi-gumi Kodo-kai for “playing golf under false pretenses.” Yakuza are great fans of expensive luxury hotels but as illustrated in Itama Juzo’s classic film 民暴の女(Minbo no Onna/The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion)–they often cost the hotel more in business and in financial losses than what they pay for their top-of-the-line rooms.