This article is from the archive of our partner .


Japan's national Diet approved the revisions of the Organized Crime Group Countermeasures Law (改正暴力団対策法) last Thursday which allows police to designate organized crime groups as “extremely dangerous” and then arrest any member of that group, without issuing a cease and desist order, if he (or she), makes unreasonable or illegal demands towards ordinary citizens.

The new law also allows the Prefectural Centers for The Elimination of Organized Crime to initiate legal procedures to forbid the use of organized crime offices, in lieu of the local citizens. The new follows public relations campaigns to crackdown on yakuza. The poster above, made by the National Police Agency and the Centers for the Elimination of Organized Crime, reads, "United in a Circle We Can Move Forward the Elimination of the Yakuza!" and was part of the 2011 effort dubbed the National Campaign to Banish Organized Crime.

The Centers will be able to launch legal proceedings to shut down yakuza offices under the new laws, if the group is designated "extremely dangerous."

Southern Japan has been rocked by an escalating gang war between three factions, the Kudo-kai (工藤会), Dojin-kai (道仁会), and 九州誠道会 (Kyushu-seido-kai). The gang wars have escalated to the point where gangsters are shooting at each other with machine guns and using explosives.  Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture Police, where the Dojin-kai is located,  began to offer cash rewards to anyone who reports finding a hand grenade (or “pineapples” in yakuza slang) from this April.  A long-running gang war in the prefecture has raised public fear in the area, and the handy hand-grenade has increasingly become the weapon of choice amongst rival gang members. Civilians in Japan have also been killed in the cross-fire.

Organized crime groups in the Kyushu region, at the southern tip of Japan mapped at right, will probably be the first targets of new stricter anti-organized crime laws. The police are also worried that the Kyushu gangs have begun to move into the Tokyo area. Former Yamaguchi-gumi boss, Tadamasa Goto (後藤忠政元組長) is known to have been aligning himself with the leader of the Kyushu Seido-kai as he reforms his own yakuza group, operating under the name Goto-Shoji (後藤商事), in Tokyo,  according to police sources. The Kyushu Seido-kai now operates several front companies in the greater Tokyo area. The group’s penchant for extreme violence is not welcome by the police in the Kanto area nor the traditional local yakuza.

The police are expected to designate one or more of the groups listed above “extremely dangerous” in the very near future.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to