Under the guidance of the National Police Agency, the construction industry is taking great steps to remove yakuza (boryokudan) and other anti-social forces from public works projects and all aspects of the construction industry. Apparently, the yakuza are not happy with this new impetus. On the morning of October 12th, in Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Kami Ochiai 4-chome, a gun was found near the entrance of a demolition and construction site for Seibo University. The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Totsuka PD were notified and found that a shot had been fired through the steel fence surrounding the construction site. The gun found at the scene was an automatic with several rounds still intact.
According to news reports, an unidentifed man working close to the site, heard sounds like a tire being punctured at 2:40 am on the same day. Since October of last year, there have been four other construction sites in Tokyo where bullets were fired. The construction company working on the Seibo University site has gone on record that it will be severing ties with all organized crime groups and implementing that policy in its larger public works as well. Police sources believe that this case was a clear warning by an organized crime group, hungry for construction projects, that they will not be easily dismissed. The relationships between this shooting and previous incidents is unclear. If you were in a punny mood, you could say that gunshots represent yakuza “destructive criticism” of the new policies rather than the usual “constructive criticism” that one would hope for from these chivalorous groups.
Prior to this incident, on October 6th, the 19th annual Tokyo Citizens For the Banishment of Organized Crime Meeting/Boryokudan Tsuiho Tomin Taikai (暴力団追放都民会）was held at the Hibiya Kokaido and participants, which included several construction company executives, pledged “Not to fear organized crime, nor to give them money, nor to use their services.”The Tokyo City Government is expected to pass an organized crime exclusionary ordinance （暴力団排除条例) this year which will make paying off the yakuza (指定暴力団）a crime, and will also allow the police to release the names of companies that do business with the yakuza. Seven prefectures already have similar laws on the books. The new laws will make the price of paying off the yakuza, in loss of face and in penalties, much more expensive than the actual cash payments to the yakuza. It highly incentives firms not to cooperate or collude with organized crime, much as the revisions to the commerce law in December 1997, made it unacceptable for large listed companies to pay off sokaiya (総会屋）ie racketeers. After a few company executives were arrested for “giving profits to racketeers” the pay offs drastically declined as did the number of sokaiya.
For footage of the construction site and more details see the NHK News Report.
Note: On a more serious note, for the safety of the construction firms and their employees, that are being targetted for reprisals by organized crime, we have omitted the company names from the article.