The Tokyo Reporter

Yakuza group succumbs to revised law, encourages ‘code of conduct’

Yamaguchi-gumi members
While it might have been somewhat humorous to read that gangsters have been found to be giving exams to their members, it would appear that this sort of activity is part of trend in which the criminal underworld is increasingly moving towards limiting risk in its operations, reports entertainment evening tabloid Yukan Fuji (Sep. 11).

The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest criminal organization, has requested that affiliated gangs not use its symbols and refrain from engaging in typical gang-like conduct.

With its main office in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture and a membership of 21,000, the gang has specifically requested that associated gangs not imprint their business cards with the Yamaguchi-gumi crest.

The article says that such a move is rooted in revisions last year to the Anti-Organized Crime Law, which was enacted in 1992. The changes increased the liability of top bosses for the actions of subordinates, and the new meishi order is a defense measure, the story indicates.

According to people familiar with the situation, the gang also issued an order to ensure that members establish a “code of conduct” more in line with conventional society. The dispatch specifically requested that members be attired in simple black suits for funerals and to never drink alone when in entertainment areas.

Last August the changes to the law now require that bosses take responsibility should members of affiliated groups partake in physical violence, intimidation and extortion to harm a person or inflict damage upon his assets. (A.T.)

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