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The Upstart Gangs Filling the Yakuza Power Vacuum

As tightened legislation increasingly limited yakuza activity from the 1990s, new criminal groups emerged to fill the gaps. The most notorious of these hangure gangs was Kantō Rengō, whose name resounded through Tokyo streets in the 2000s and early 2010s. One of its former bosses, Shibata Daisuke, presents an inside view.

Outlaw Appeal: The Yakuza in Film and Print

Whether romanticized or realistic, yakuza films have a long history in Japan. Books and manga also help the public explore their enduring fascination with the nation’s gangs.

Hard-Up Yakuza Struggle to Earn a Living

Splits in the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s most powerful criminal organization, hint at tough economic times for the yakuza. Government crackdowns have dramatically reduced gangster income, dragging the group down from its once dominant position.

Body Parts of Nine People Found at Apartment near Tokyo (News)

Zama, Kanagawa Pref., Oct. 31 (Jiji Press)—Body parts of at least nine people have been discovered at an apartment in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, southwest of Tokyo, as police were searching for a missing woman, investigative sources said Tuesday. Tokyo's Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday arrested the apartment's resident, Shiraishi Takahiro, 27, on suspicion of abandoning bodies sometim…

Fragmented Yamaguchi-gumi a Sign of Changing Yakuza Times

Japan’s biggest criminal organization, the Yamaguchi-gumi, has broken up into three groups. While this would once have heralded a likely gang war, tightened legislation has made it difficult for the yakuza to act, preserving a curious balance of power. In this unusual situation, fundamental rules of the yakuza world are crumbling.

Abused Children in Japan Top 30,000 in First Half of 2017 (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 21 (Jiji Press)—The number of children suspected to have been abused in Japan in January–June 2017 topped 30,000, the first time ever for the figure to reach this level since half-year data started to be compiled in 2011, the National Police Agency said Thursday. Police referred a total of 30,262 suspected abuse victims aged 17 or younger to child consultation centers in the first …

Human Blood from Mosquitos Could Identify Criminals: Research (News)

Nagoya, Aug. 17 (Jiji Press)—Mosquito bites at indoor crime scenes in summer could provide evidence for convictions, a team of researchers at Nagoya University suggests. Human blood sampled from a mosquito remains viable for DNA analysis for up to two days after the bite took place, according to their research. "We hope the technique will help prevent crimes," said Yamamoto Toshimichi, leade…

Japan Police Launch National Hotline for Sex Crime Victims (News)

Tokyo, Aug. 3 (Jiji Press)—Police across Japan started on Thursday fielding phone calls made to an emergency speed-dial number by sex crime victims seeking advice. The helpline, which can be reached from anywhere in Japan at #8103, was opened to encourage more victims of sexual offenses to call police, the National Police Agency said. Before the dedicated line was set up, victims had to cont…

Crimes on Track to Hit Postwar Low in 2017 (News)

Tokyo, July 20 (Jiji Press)—The number of criminal offenses reported to police in Japan in January–June 2017 fell 7.7% from a year earlier to 450,887, on track to hit an annual low for the postwar era, a National Police Agency report showed Thursday. The annual crime figure has kept declining since peaking at 2,853,739 in 2002. The number of crimes continued to drop after the police acknowle…

Fraud on the Line: Japan’s Persistent Telephone ScamsNishida Kimiaki

“Telephone scams,” in which criminals defraud their marks over the phone, show no sign of abating in Japan. Authorities have fought back against these incidents through public awareness campaigns, but have been matched by crafty perpetrators who quickly adopt new techniques to dupe their victims. Nishida Kimiaki analyzes the psychological factors at play on the victims’ side and looks at what is behind the persistent problem.

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