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Yakuza and police: Shinsuke Shimada to ignite amakudari boom in media world

Shinsuke Shimada
Shinsuke Shimada

TOKYO (TR) – The resignation of entertainer Shinsuke Shimada last August over links to organized crime will lead to an upsurge in employment of retiring police officials by media companies, reports Nikkan Gendai (Mar. 16).

To prove its case the tabloid chooses to profile Tetsuya Morishi, 59, the former head of the anti-organized crime division of the Tokyo Metropolitan Police. Starting in April he will be employed at Fuji Television.

Last October, at the time when legislation was passed to prohibit ordinary citizens from having business dealings with criminal organizations, Morishi, nicknamed Anpanman due to his rotund shape, reached out to a collection of 3,000 corporations to say that organized crime is be removed from society. “I want you to work with us in implementing these measures safely,” he said.

However, last month he abruptly retired from the metropolitan police. According to an unnamed source within the television business, Morishi will be employed as lead consultant for security — an example of the practice known as amakudari, or descent from heaven, in which government workers land positions in the private sector after retirement. “Possibly Fuji is seeking confidential investigative information,” explains the same source. “They want intelligence on the sly about which production companies and entertainers are linked to organized crime.”

Last August, Shimada abruptly announced his retirement from the entertainment business after admitting to an exchange of e-mails with an upper member of the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest crime syndicate. To prevent similar issues, Nikkan Gendai speculates that media companies want to obtain the police’s supposed “black list” of celebrity names and organizations with yakuza links.

This is the not the first time that amakudari interests have been cited as a facilitator of the passage of the recent anti-gang legislation. Manabu Miyazaki, an author of dozens of books about yakuza, including “Toppamono: My Life in Japan’s Underworld,” in January said: “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.”

Fuji TV refused to comment on the hiring, citing the personal nature of the matter as the reason.

“Corporations are fearful about ties to gangsters,” says police journalist Yu Terasawa. “When companies hear about the Fuji TV move there will be an explosion of similar activity that will follow.”

Terasawa says that there have been rumblings in the past about the enactment of the laws being specifically for amakudari purposes, which coincides with Miyazaki’s view. “Now it is becoming the reality,” the journalist says.