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Fukuoka bans yakuza finger cutting

A gang member in Tokyo shows his means of atonement
A gang member in Tokyo shows his means of atonement

FUKUOKA (TR) – Following recent incidents of abuse, the Fukuoka Prefectural Public Safety Commission on Tuesday announced a ban on a ritualistic form of atonement for one of the prefecture’s organized crime groups, reports the Nishi Nippon Shimbun (March 24).

In a meeting with a 41-year-old upper member of the Dojin-kai, whose headquarters is located in Kurume City, the commission said members of the gang would be prohibited from facilitating the removal of a finger of a fellow gangster — a ritual known as yubitsume.

Under the mandate, the act of coercion, whether in a meeting or through telephone or letter, and the provision of a cutting tool are banned acts.

The initiative, based on the Anti-Organized Crime Law enacted in 1991, is a nationwide first. The ban extends for a period of one year.

In the world of organized crime, the finger-cutting custom is a deep-rooted act to show responsibility for a transgression.

Retirement from a life of crime is one such example, and more gang members have been taking that route in recent years. Earlier this month, the National Police Agency said that last year the total number of organized crime members decreased by 5,100 to 53,500 between 2013 and 2014.

According to the announcement of the commission, the Dojin-kai received an order to halt the ritual following an incident in November of 2013 in which an upper member demanded  an underling remove a finger as a atonement for leaving the gang.

However, a similar incident took place in August of last year. In both cases, the gang members refused to comply with the requests.

The ban is intended to prevent a repeat occurrence, the commission said.