TOKYO (TR) – On October 5, the National Police Agency announced a revision to the Anti-Organized Crime Law to be submitted to the ordinary session of the Diet. The initiative follows anti-gang ordinances adopted by all prefectures and administrative divisions that same month.
In spite of attempting to reduce criminal activities, the moves are not without their critics, reports Nikkan Gendai (Jan. 28).
At a January 24 meeting broadcast on video sharing site Niko Niko Douga (see link below), a panel of writers and journalists, including Makoto Sataka, Manabu Miyazaki, Soichiro Tahara, and Takashi Tsujii, voiced displeasure with the measures, which are intended to discourage ordinary citizens from fostering the activities of yakuza groups.
Since its institution in October, the prefectural legislation has been called “overkill,” with critics calling it a violation of basic human rights since gang members and their families are first and foremost people.
“Laws should be enforced based on deeds and not on a person’s social status,” Sataka said.
Nikkan Gendai believes that police are aware that an opposition movement may spread, which would render the legislation to be ineffective.
The Anti-Organized Crime Law will be revised for the first time since its inception in 1992. The Asahi Shimbun reports that the scheduled changes will strengthen penalties and designate particularly violent gangster groups so that their regions of activity can be monitored more easily.
Miyazaki, an author of dozens of books about yakuza, including “Toppamono: My Life in Japan’s Underworld,” said after the meeting that over 10,000 people sent in comments, most of which were in opposition to the anti-gangster legislation.
“Although this particular meeting was mainly about pressure on magazines regarding how to treat the publishing gangster information, a more widespread protest will develop, one in which the legal community and academics will shine a light on the constitution, with voices slowly spreading the word about its unreasonableness,” Miyazaki said.
The Asahi reports that five criminal organizations, including the Yamaguchi-gumi, based in Kobe, and the Kudo-kai, located in Kitakyushu, will receive the special designation regarding violence under the revision to the Anti-Organized Crime Law.
According to Miyazaki, the real point of the legislation is the preservation of amakudari, or the process by which government officials assume positions at corporations upon retirement.
“At the time of the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty in 1970, many policemen were recruited,” Miyazaki said. “This is a big problem in guaranteeing them an amakudari positions upon retirement. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and, Tourism and the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry are different. Retired police officials do not have any special skills that can be carried forward into the business world. However, if laws (related to organized crime) become more strict, companies would need former officers for consulting purposes.”
The article notes that the January 28 issue of Toyo Keizai magazine says that there are 83 listed firms, including Sharp Corporation, NYK Group, and the Chugoku Electric Power Company, that have former police officials on staff.
Therefore, the strengthening anti-gang laws at the prefectural and national levels would require more former police officials “to descend” into positions within corporations for compliance reasons, Nikkan Gendai says.