On June 24th, 2011, A doctor, a Sumiyoshi-kai gangster, a former mobster and two others were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to illegally trade a kidney and faking an adoption between 2009 and 2010 . It’s a hell of a complicated case involving a doctor in need of a kidney transplant, a gangster that was paid to help him procure a donor and now revelations that the same doctor received a kidney transplant–and the donor is now missing.
For more on the story, see The Japan Times coverage of the events. The doctor in question, arrested for violations of the organ transplant laws did offer ¥10 million to a Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate member Kazuhisa Takino, 50, to find a prospective donor. The deal fell through but the good doctor was able to find a living donor for a partial transplant elsewhere. However, since the transplant, the donor in question has been reported as missing.
Police sources suggest that the case may turn into a homicide investigation. Japan has very restrictive laws related to organ donation and only a small number of people manage to receive organ transplants in Japan. In some cases, yakuza with enough money have been able to receive liver transplants at UCLA, in fact, four of them but that’s another story altogether. For more insights into the problems in in Japan which allow yakuza to muscle into the medical care business, please see this post on the history of organ donations in Japan.
Of the four gangster that received liver transplants at UCLA, two of them used Japan’s adoption system to become “adopted” by other families, changing their names and thus avoiding detection by the US authorities when they came into the United States. The adoption system in Japan has been and continues to be a convenient means of changing identity for mobsters and con artists.
While we’re on the subject, while the liver transplants at UCLA received by the four mobsters, were ostensibly paid for with money gained from illegal enterprises, which could technically make the patients and the hospital guilty of money laundering, there was never an investigation into where the money came from that was paid to UCLA. In Japan, I suppose, it is harder for mobsters to obtain organs than it is in the United States. It appears that the police are doing their job on this one.