The Yakuza and Your Business in Japan

Global Risk & Investigations Practice

July 11, 2014

With its economy finally showing signs of recovery and the upcoming investment potential spurred by discussion on casino regulation and the 2020 Olympics, Japan is amidst a potential economic and construction boom. However, alongside the building of shining new skyscrapers and sports venues there exists a darker side of Japanese society, the Yakuza.

Interwoven into various facets of Japanese society, business and politics, the Yakuza, faced with recent regulatory tightening and enforcement, are also transforming to the extent that they are becoming harder to detect, as reflected by a decline in official membership numbers.

FTI Consulting takes a deeper look at the Yakuza, what the future entails and how to best protect your company’s interests.

Who Are The Yakuza?

The Japanese government officially uses the term ‘Anti-Social Forces’ as a means of determining organized crime groups, its members, corporate racketeers and groups, which have the potential for violence or social unrest.

The Yakuza have their own code of conduct and in fact consider themselves to be ‘Chivalrous Organizations’ ‘helping and protecting society.’ Some of the Yakuza’s ‘chivalrous’ activities include being one of the first groups to help out in the aftermath of the devastating January 1995 Kobe earthquake and March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in the Tohoku region.

The National Police Agency estimated a total of 58,600 organized crime group members spread across 21 organized crime groups in 2013, the lowest number on record to date. The concern many have is that this official reduction in membership numbers indicates the Yakuza are finding more adaptive ways to integrate with society, conceal illicit activities and legitimize their business operations.

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