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Japan Subculture Research Center

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Yakuza Not Leaving The Construction Industry With A Whimper But A Bang


Oct 13, 2010

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.

"Don't fear the yakuza, pay them off, or use them." from the Tokyo Metro Police HP. Tokyo is actively trying to push the yakuza out of construction and the business world. New ordinances will add impetus.

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.

8 thoughts on “Yakuza Not Leaving The Construction Industry With A Whimper But A Bang”
  1. What has prompted this push back against the Yakuza? A case of the government needing some big news to distract the public from the economy etc? Regardless of the motives, I’m glad it’s happening, but I hope it works out for the best…

  2. Adam-san,
    This is my opinion, or gut feeling, but the real push back against the yakuza came when the leading faction of the Yamaguchi-gumi began to intimidate police officers and threaten their families. Police take that personally.
    I’m glad it’s happening too but i’m not sure they have an infrastructure to rehabilitate and intergrate the 86,000 yakuza in Japan back into civilian life if they demolish the organizations.

  3. Jake-san,

    From your reply above: “I’m not sure they have an infrastructure to rehabilitate and intergrate the 86,000 yakuza in Japan back into civilian life if they demolish the organizations.”

    Wouldn’t that be a nice thing for your Center to spearhead such an effort to integrate yakuza? Your reputation can’t be smeared, and you and I know that, despite being often despicable, the yakuza are still human beings… And the publicity for the Center might help in more ways than one. Just a thought.

    And re-posting from previous entry: I sent a reply to your response. It should be in one of your e-mail boxes. You don’t need to reply, it is strictly FYI.

    BTW, I caught myself sounding foreign in Russian language many a time in the last two decades. Now I noticed that your English starts to sound like a translation from a foreign language. Hope it’s all for good. 🙂

    1. The National Centers for The Elimination of Boryokudan (Yakuza) are supposed to serve that function but they’re not having an easy time of it. Jobs are scarce and yakuza are scary looking.

  4. Jake-san,
    Thank you much for your book. I have recommended it on my tiny blog. I greatly appreciate what you’ve done, and can sympathize much with where you’ve been, even if I have never been to the places you’ve been.

  5. Jake-san,
    I must thank you for your book as well. I just finished my second read of it yesterday, the stories and places still thrill me like nothing else in social/crime non-fiction. I am greatly thankful for your book and the justice that was brought by your endless articles on the Japanese underground; let’s hope Goto has taught himself some Buddhist morals and ideals by now.

  6. Any hope they will get them out of the real estate industry as well?

    From what I heard, they have their hands in all things construction/real estate related. Curious if this is true, somewhat true or a gross exageration.

    I’m sure this is more intricate/complicated than I suspect, as most things in japan are. Would love to look at buying real estate without having fear of reprisal, squatters, or offending the wrong organization.

    Anyway, another great writeup. I’m looking forward to the new book.


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