(LinkAsia News - October 7, 2011) YUL KWON, LinkAsia Host: Now, on to Japan, where the government has passed a new law targeting gangsters, known as Yakuza. When a gangster tries to extort money, what should a Japanese citizen do? The government is holding role- playing sessions to help businesses abide by the new law. It prohibits companies from helping gang members earn money. NHK World examines whether this type of law is the solution.
NHK World's NEWSLINE Transcript
REPORTER: People in Japan rally against organized crime. The anti-gang sentiment in this country is on the rise. More citizens are vowing to stop the far-reaching syndicate, known as The Yakuza.
COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVE: I declare that our community will eliminate crime groups.
REPORTER: Their elected representatives are behind them.
TOKYO OFFICIAL (DURING TRAINING SEMINAR): I need to talk with the branch manager face to face.
REPORTER: Tokyo officials are trying to help companies understand the capitol's new anti-gang by-law.
TOKYO OFFICIAL (DURING TRAINING SEMINAR): Be rational. That's all I ask.
REPORTER: They're teaching employees how the ordinance works, and the consequences of not following it.
TOKYO OFFICIAL ADDRESSING GROUP: It's important to reject all demands by gangsters, however trivial they are.
TOKYO OFFICIAL: The by-law prohibits private businesses for helping crime groups turn a profit. Authorities will issue warnings to companies that assist gangters in any way, including paying for protection, or help in resolving conflicts. Serious violators will be identified in public.
This type of by-law is already in effect in other parts of Japan. In one case, authorities warned a lumber business after it knowingly did interior decoration on the office of a crime group. In another, they advised a business against letting local gangsters use a parking space for free.
Then there's the case of the cemetery operator. Authorities zeroed in on him for entrusting the management of his business to a company run by the head of a crime organization.
Finding links between businesses and Yakuza might be the easy part. Severing the ties might be much more difficult. This Tokyo bar manager says he pays gangsters to act as bouncers.
TOKYO BAR MANAGER: I won't disclose the amount, but I'm paying them every month. I have a lot of trouble at my place. For example, fights or quarrels between customers, and that can hurt my business. I need their help to keep my bar running.
REPORTER: Will you stop paying them immediately?
TOKYO BAR MANAGER: It will be rather difficult.