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Japan Subculture Research Center

A guide to the Japanese underworld, Japanese pop-culture, yakuza and everything dark under the sun.

Japanese Government Outlaws (Yakuza) Organized Crime Groups; Bans Possession of Child Pornography With Passage Of Criminal Conspiracy Laws


Apr 4, 2011

April 1st 2011 (Tokyo, Japan)

The National Police Agency announced today an immediate ban on designated organized crime groups and their activities in conjunction with the establishment of Japan’s version of the RICO act, the criminal conspiracy laws/kyobozai(共謀罪).  The Criminal Conspiracy Laws were passed in an extraordinary session of the Diet, where the ruling Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) showed amazing and surprising leadership after a series of incidents in which organized crime groups targeted regular civilians in neo-terrorist acts. However, due to the timely earthquake relief provided by these same organizations, the new laws have had a mixed reception with the Japanese public.

With the passage of Japan's first comprehensive criminal conspiracy laws, the yakuza (Japanese mafia) were outlawed today.
The crackdown begins. With the passage of Japan's first comprehensive criminal conspiracy laws, the yakuza (Japanese mafia) were essentially outlawed today.

Prime Minister Kan Naoto, addressing the assembled members, proclaimed, “The days that this country coddled organized crime members as if they were children with a Hello! Kitty doll are finally over. No longer will we tolerate collusion, cooperation and the appeasement of organized crime groups, these so called yakuza, these gokudo. We will not let them manipulate our stock markets, jack up land prices, evict the old and feeble from their homes to make way for unneeded new real estate developments. We will not let them shame the Japanese government by being more efficient relief providers in times of crisis. We are tired of their adherence to an outdated code of honor that makes all politicians look like mere opportunistic sociopaths. We will not let them exploit transient labor nor profit off of sex trafficking and drugs. We will no longer allow them to have a nine-fingered, sometimes eight-fingered grasp on the steering wheels of power in this country. We will remove them from this country as painstakingly as a laser removes the tattoo from the skin of those foolish enough to have decorated themselves permanently in their youthful folly. With laser-like precision, we will root them out, and eliminate them from the national body–as if they were not just tattoos but cancerous growths.” Kan’s speech was greeted with a standing ovation, with only a smattering of muted protest about his wild use of mixed metaphors.  It marks a major rift in relations between the Yamaguchi-gumi and the DPJ. The Yamaguchi-gumi has allegedly backed the DPJ since 2007.

In Kobe city, the police in a daring raid seized the headquarters of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime group with 40,000 members, and arrested over a hundred top members of the same group on charges of racketeering, criminal conspiracy, destruction of property, extortion, and general nuisance prohibitory ordinances.  The Yamaguchi-gumi headquarters will be razed next year and turned into Kobe’s largest open air park. In honor of the film director, Itami Juzo, who was attacked by Yamaguchi-gumi members  in 1992 after directing the dark comedy MINBO NO ONNA, and died under mysterious circumstances—the new park will be called Itami Juzo Koen.

In Tokyo, the Tokyo Metropolitan Department (TMPD) raided the Ginza located offices of the Sumiyoshikai (Japan’s second largest crime group, with 12,000 members) and also the Inagawakai (Japan’s third largest crime group, 10,000) headquarters located directly across from the Ritz-Carlton Tokyo. The same day, the current acting head of the Sumiyoshikai announced plans to dismantle the organization and retire to Las Vegas.  The Inagawakai announced plans to cease all criminal activities and restructure the group as a political think-tank in an alliance with Fyuji Group’s newspaper, Bankei Shinbun.

Jodan Akushitsuna, acting general director of the National Police Agency, in a hastily arranged press conference at the National Police Agency headquarters in Kasumigaseki speaking to the Japanese press, explained, “Japan is not a third-world country and there’s no excuse for allowing organized crime groups to exist as quasi-legal entities. We know who they are, where they are and what they do. Their activities do not benefit the people of Japan. And even if you could argue that they are like a second police force, keeping street crime low–we only need one police force. We just need to do our jobs better. Today is the beginning of the end of the boryokudan (violent groups) in Japan. We gave them fair warning–we banned the publication and distribution of their fanzines. They should have known what was next.  We are willing and able to work with those who leave organized crime and help them find honest jobs in Japan’s service sector and entertainment industry. But make no mistake, and I say this to all those still remaining in yakuza organizations–walk out or be carried out. The choice is up to you.”

It’s not known what impact the dissolution of Japan’s underworld will have on the economy–with 86,000 yakuza now essentially out of a job. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare predicts that unemployment is expected to rise as rapidly as the price of methamphetamines. The Ministry of Trade and Industry predicts that sales of Hawaiian shirts, traditional Japanese swords, smuggled Russian firearms, and sweatsuits are expected to plummet.  The public security of Japan may also be at risk.  The power vacuum created by the dissolution of the Japanese mafia aka yakuza, may allow foreign gangs to roam the streets terrorizing the gentle people of this small island country.  In addition to this, a summary provision of the new criminal conspiracy laws, effectively bans both the sale and possession of child pornography, as well as games in which the rape and sexual humiliation of underage girls and boys is depicted.  Japan’s Entertainment Trade Association (JETA) immediately launched a petition protesting this crackdown on artistic freedom but their protests have been more or less ignored in the chaos after the laws went into effect today.

Masatada Guroto, formerly of the Guroto-gumi, and once one of the most powerful crime bosses in Japan, upon hearing the news of the crackdown reportedly said to NHK, “That’s the way it goes.  The yakuza have basically been taken over by a bunch of Koreans, anyway. It’s no fun for us Japanese yakuza anymore.”  The North Korean Japanese Association has demanded a retraction. In other news, Sega Entertainment announced that in light of the new laws that they would be ceasing production of GOKUDO BOI 8, which was scheduled to be released in the US as YAKUZA WARRIOR 7, in 2011.

(compiled from Kyogo News Service and Asahi Shinpun reports)

Sub-editor’s note: Now that Japan has cracked down on organized crime, banned the yakuza, and banned the possession of child pornography , I feel that writing about these subjects is no longer fruitful or useful. As of April 22nd, 2011, we will be closing this blog. Sarah Noorbakhsh, who has done an amazing job of running the web-site and turning it into something we are all proud of here, will be moving on to a position in PR at Toyoda International in Nagoya, and is currently reading a lot about Japanese cars. I am at a loss as to what I should do but for the time being have taken a job in PR as well. I’m now  a part-time blogger at the Mini Moni tribute website, Retro Mini Moni. I don’t know a lot about Japanese pop-culture but I’m willing to learn.

* happy belated April Fools Day! It’ll be a cold day in hell when the Japanese government bans either of these things. But in the last year they really have cracked down!  We posted this last year as well, so hopefully you haven’t fallen for it twice. The only thing in this article that is true is that the Yamaguchi-gumi crime group has backed the Democratic Party of Japan since 2007. No one is 100%  sure why.  @<@

55 thoughts on “Japanese Government Outlaws (Yakuza) Organized Crime Groups; Bans Possession of Child Pornography With Passage Of Criminal Conspiracy Laws”
    1. Thanks! God, I wish that it was true. Really. Japan would be a better place. Well, I have a fondness for the local yakuza–Sumiyoshikai and Inagawakai but they’ll go be sucked up by the Yamaguchi-gumi eventually.
      Although, within the Yamaguchi-gumi, there are couple of reasonably non-barbaric factions. I digress.
      Glad it was amusing. I tried to be subtle. 🙂

  1. Bah… You had me at “outlaws organized crime groups”…

    Seriously, “banning child pornography” in Japan? What next? Transparent budgets and electoral contribution law reforms? Hahaha…
    You could have tried to make it sound at least somewhat credible…

  2. I was about to forward this to a friend, but the “smattering of muted protest about his wild use of mixed metaphors” (nicely) gave it away.

    Did you solve your attachment issue? I can help you if you didn’t.

    1. I think I’ve solved them. Thanks. You should still forward it to your friend. I knew that the “wild use of mixed metaphors” was a giveaway. Up until that point, it sort of rings true. Too much fun to pass that up. I did mimic Hatoyama’s speeches though, although he never says anything to the point.

  3. I was rolling around on the floor in laughter with this line, (especially because it’s an impossible turn of phrase in Japanese, which makes it even funnier to think of what it might have sounded like if uttered by Hatoyama):
    “We will no longer allow them to have a nine-fingered, sometimes eight-fingered grasp on the steering wheels of power in this country.”

    The acting director of NPA sounds like a funny guy too.

    Thanks for the fun!

  4. I just finished a paper for a law class at Temple Univ.. I handed in a final draft yesterday, I almost ran back to start re-writing. You totally got, me.. After replacing my father-inlaws Sake box with Omizu this morning, I guess I deserved that.

  5. I was so convinced that I turned on my TV, saw a variety show on Asahi, and thought “Gee you’d think with a story this big they’d show it all night long.” Didn’t realize the date today, so embarrassing.

    1. I feel slightly terrible now. Unfortunately, we’re all April Fools if we believe the current political party will do anything serious to crack down on organized crime.

  6. u got me all the way till ‘Masatada Groto’.

    at first i thought this was an unbelievable turn of events and how maybe your book Tokyo Vice really made an immediate impact. i guess it is impossible for Japan to pass criminal conspiracy laws that will eliminate yakuzas.

    btw, i absolutley enjoyed your book. finished it in 2 days.

  7. Knew this was April Fool’s only by the person who retweeted it, but otherwise I would have been duped up until the ‘Kobe arrests’. Strangely, I didn’t even question the Hello!Kitty metaphor! That either says something about me or Hatoyama.

  8. Good job on cleaning up Japan, Jake. The Japanese government can’t admit it, but we all know it was your journalism that finally pushed them to do this. What will you tackle next? The economy in Japan and the US?

    1. I think my next chore is taking a long, well-deserved vacation. Then I’ll oversee the break-up of Goldman Sachs and the redistribution of wealth to the middle class in America.

  9. @Katie
    Wow, your website is beautiful. Your artistic sensibilities are impressive. I guess I need to be reminded now and then about many of the things I like about Japan and find beautiful about the country and your website did a lot to remind me of that.
    By the way, smart.fm which you have listed on your Japanese language sites is the brainchild of a good friend of mine. He even briefly appears in the book.

  10. jeez man

    I thought all this was true.

    I was reading this and said to myself , cant believe Japan did this all in one day.

    Plus I was about to do a google search.

    You got us good jake.

    1. Thanks, it’s not to often that I’m able to pull off something like this successfully. It doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s a true. Even a Japanese cop in the international investigations division in SPD said that he was fooled for about ten seconds but then realized that even when translated that Prime Minister Hatoyama could never say anything that intelligible.

  11. good april fool’s… you had me believeing that they were going to drive them underground… but that’s the cynical US guy take in any case. They always talk big about rooting stuff out, and then?

    I guess that belief made me a credible pastsy, eh? “whul gee Vern, they do things different over thar anyways…”

  12. You got me Jake! I was totally ready to forward this to my entire Japanese class and professor!

  13. Rereading it, I can’t believe how gullible I was. Director of NPA, “Jodan Akushituna” ?? Good one, Jake.

    1. Michiel-chan,
      Your unshakable optimism is one of the many things we all love about you. You’re not gullible, you’re an idealist! Even Larry was fooled for a nanosecond.
      But yes “Jodan Akushitsu” (悪質な冗談) should have probably tipped you off. 😛
      PS. Wow, you really do read the blog.

  14. That was absolutely brilliant, Jake. You mixed just enough truth in with precisely the right amount of “wtf?” in an insightful way. Even after I realized it was your April Fool’s joke, I kept reading. おみごと。

  15. Yamaguchi-gumi partnering with Wal-mar/Targett would of been just as good April fools, lovely job though had me laughing by the “hello kitty doll” comment.

    keep up the good work

  16. I cannot say I was fooled, but I enjoyed reading this. Basically, you just described my dream Japan where you keep the good things and banish the bad. I especially liked the part about sales of sweatsuits plummeting. That alone truly would be an improvement whether the yakuza remain or not.

    I believe this is my first time commenting here, but I have been reading your blog for several months. I plan to read your book, too, but not anytime soon because I am too cheap to buy it new.

    1. @Ej. It would be my dream Japan as well. I’d also like to get rid those ugly concrete tinker toys on the coast lines. The book–expensive? It’s cheap on amazon. get a used copy! Then again, you should support your local bookstore and think of it as giving to charity. 🙂 (I’m totally not objective in saying this, I’ll admit).

  17. Ha Ha…you got me. I was floored by the article than laughed out loud at the April Fools footnote. Well Done.

  18. All jokes aside (ahem): it was a good one. I was just being a smartarse on the whole credibility thing: I did have a good chuckle reading the article.
    I might have fallen for at least one paragraph, had I not just come from reading the Guardian’s own article on the “radicalisation of UK Labour campaign”, with an alleged billboard mockup featuring Gordon Brown inviting Tory leader to “Step outside, Posh boy” (“Vote Labour. or else.”)…

    1. @Dave I saw the poster–I loved that. “Step outside, Posh boy.” The phrase reminded me of listening to Crass and English hardcore punk way back in the bday.

  19. Wow, you actually had me all the way until the end, but elements were hysterical, especially the Hawaiian Shirts and Sweatsuits. I dont think I know enough about Japanese Culture to understand when this is a joke though.

    I’m really keen to read your book. Trying to see if my Local library has it as I have little to no cash to spend on entertainment at the moment.

  20. Awwwww you ass! I feel for it! LOL HAHAHA
    Tha RICO act made it so believable! Awwww you dick I feel for it! HAHAHA
    Good one mann…. You got me! lol :p

  21. It’s not nice tricking a first time visitor to this blog like that! I totally bought it up until the line about you taking a job in PR. I know very little about modern Japanese politics, but even the “…terrorizing the gentle people of this small island country.” line didn’t tip me off although I’ve read your book. Dammit!

    My boyfriend is now doing the ‘point and laugh’ routine at me. Thanks a lot. :p

  22. Oh my. My bakasense didn’t start to tingle until I got to the part about faltering Hawaiian shirt prices.
    I almost started to forward this to my Japanese History professor, bwahaha!

    And great book, by the way!

  23. Makes for a great feel-good joke (^^) For a moment there I thought, “Isn’t Hatoyama pressing these guys too hard. He might end up dead…”

    The Yakuza won’t go away so easily – especially when one considers that their absence would produce a niche over which rival gangs would violently wage war to fill – which includes the sale of drugs and pornographic material. It’s hard enough with the Chinese mafias and the Russians providing competition. Not only that, but many of those who would otherwise fit well into mainstream Japanese society, such as vagrants, burakumin, and members of non-Japanese minorities, often find the Yakuza and similar groups to be most welcoming – even with all the demands they may impose.

    As much as many of us may want the Yakuza to disappear, there are practical reasons as to why they should be allowed to exist. All that the Japanese government has to do is use its influence to keep the Yakuza from becoming too powerful so as to threaten public order. Probably easier said than done when one considers that the largest Yakuza groups have influence within the government.

    1. Hatoyama has the courage of a jackal feasting on a dead deer carcass. I wouldn’t worry about him to much. I agree with your analysis of the yakuza in Japanese society. It’ll take some serious upheaval to see them outlawed and closed down.

  24. Well shows who’s new to this website @_@ I totally fell for this until the end XD Haha great April Fool’s joke!

    1. Thanks for reading all the way to the end! If you read the fictional name of the National Police Agency director, Jodan Akushitsuna as it would be in Japanese order it’s: 悪質な冗談: a terrible joke. 😀

  25. In 1960, Presdent Eisenhower was coming to Japan. Japanese Government ‘ordered’ Tekiya, Yakuza and Uyoku(ultra right wing) all over in Japan to organize ‘Welcome Ike! ‘ committee. These groups had to attack any left wing meetings anywhere in Japan., with big sticks and their violence acts to attack. ( no guns – Japan has no gun gun control law). Indured left wing people could not do anything.. Visit by Ike went smooth. People liked Ike anyway. Leftist liked Ike but they got injured. Don’ trust Japanese Government. They will order yalkuzas for their purpose. Tekiyas and uyokus did not biolent acts, Only yakuzas knew.

  26. In 1960, President Eisenhower was visiting Japan. Japanese Government ordered all of yakuzas, tekiyas, and right wing organizations to form ‘Welcome Ike’ committee. These group were ordered to crush left wing organization all over Japan. With big sticks and their violence attack, yakuzas attacked left wing meetings and injured so many people. (no-gun in Japan, then. No gun-gun conytol law). Yakuzas were praised while tekiyas and right wing onlhy did campaigns to welcome Ike. Tekyas dissociated yakuzas for a quite while. Attacking
    katagis, tekiyas define as cowards who got government ‘soldio’ agents. When time comes Japanese Government will recruit yakuzas.

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