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Present Situation of Organized Crime in Japan and Countermeasures Against It

NCJ Number
Date Published
February 2000
9 pages
This overview of the current status of organized crime in Japan and countermeasures against it addresses the promotion of comprehensive measures against the Boryokudan (traditionally known as "Yakuza"), the nature of the terrorist religious group known as Aum Shinrikyo, and the activities of international criminal organizations in Japan.
"Boryokudan" literally means "violence group," and the Anti-Boryokudan law enacted in 1991 defines "Boryokudan" as "any organization that is likely to help its members to collectively and habitually commit illegal acts of violence." A review of the history of Boryokudan traces its origin to the gamblers and street vendors after World War II. The implementation of the Anti-Boryokudan law in 1992 has resulted in the dissolution of 192 Boryokudan organizations and a reduction in the influence of remaining groups; however, their loan-sharking activities and other income-producing criminal activities remain significant. This paper provides information on Boryokudan rivalry conflicts and firearms-related crimes, as well as strategies for enforcing Anti-Boryokudan law. This includes efforts to expel Boryokudan from involvement in and the exploitation of legitimate businesses. The paper's section on Aum Shinrikyo, a religious group, notes that its members murdered a lawyer in 1989 and killed 18 people with sarin gas attacks in the mid-1990's. The investigation of and the protection of citizens from the Aum Shinrikyo are briefly described. Foreign-based criminal syndicates active in Japan in recent years are also described, along with their criminal activities in Japan.