How to Detect Anti-Social Forces in Japan

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“What Is Anti-Social Force?”

The term ‘anti-social forces’ (反社会的勢力) is officially used by the Japanese government. It refers to the organized crime groups (Japanese Mafia = Boryokudan/yakuza) and their members, corporate racketeers, and groups that have the potential for violence or social unrest. It sometimes includes serial fraudsters, as well.

‘Anti-social forces’ is the euphemistic term for ‘organized crime syndicates.’ However, it is not clear why officials use this euphemistic term to refer to crime syndicates.

Prominent Yakuza Bosses Are Heros

Believe it or not, the powerful yakuza chiefs (Japanese Mafia bosses) are heroes to delinquent boys and those who feel rebellious toward traditional society.

You can search for the names and addresses of the significant yakuza organizations on YAKUZA WIKI ( Tabloid magazines always cover the prominent chiefs (Oyabuns) of the yakuza organizations with their photos. They are, in a sense, public figures in Japan.

How Law Enforcement Registers Yakuzas

The Public Safety Board officially designates the crime syndicates. There are 22 designated crime syndicates (Boryokudans) as of 2018. The members of the crime syndicates number about 18,000.

Law enforcement officials maintain updated lists of the members of criminal organizations. This is a common practice whereby the police detectives in organized crime units have contacts in the crime syndicates, and through these connections, the police can compile the lists of members. The police also update the agenda when members of crime syndicates get arrested.

Some of the new members want to be filed into the database of criminal organizations on their own. In other words, you are not formally recognized as a member of the Yakuza unless you are listed on the Anti-Social Forces police database. In a sense, you make bones when you are formally registered as a member of Boryokudan in the police database.

Legal Environment of Boryokudan/Yakuza

There are no laws that make the existence of gangsters illegal like the Anti Mafia Law in Italy.

However, current regulations prohibit criminal organizations and their members from:

  • Opening bank accounts.
  • Renting houses.
  • Buying homes.
  • Having commercial dealings with any corporations.

The measures against organized crime syndicates strengthened when the series of ordinances for the elimination of organized crime syndicates was set in force in 2012. After that, virtually, criminal organizations were not even granted fundamental human rights such as the rights of residence.

Police Concession of Removal of Yakuza

There is a contradiction. The NPA (police) does not issue the lists of the members of organized crime syndicates to the public because it damages their human rights. At the same time, companies and financial organizations will be punished if they deal with a member of a gang.

The public foundation The Center for Removal of Criminal Organisations (暴力団追放推進センター is compiling a database of Anti-Social Forces mainly gathered from public media coverage. You can get access to their database when you become a member of the center for a monthly subscription.

In a sense, this center is a hotbed of crowds of police retirees. There is also a side that the policy of eliminating gangsters becomes a concession of police.

Under these circumstances, it is getting more and more difficult to update the lists of new members of gangs. Nowadays, there is little or no merit in being listed on the law enforcement database of anti-social forces.

How Financial Institutions Detect Anti-Social Forces

Securities companies can access the database of the police agency’s database of anti-social forces through the Japan Securities Dealers Association. Banks can access the police agency’s database of anti-social forces through the Deposit Insurance Corporation.

The database of anti-social forces will answer only the possibility of anti-social forces. If there is a possibility, the financial company will consult the police for that case individually. Then the police respond with official results.

Data of the National Police Agency is a database of gang members (Yakuza). The number of registrations is 18000.

The Criminal Profit Transfer Prevention Office (JAFIC = Japan Financial Intelligence Center) encourages financial companies and virtual office service operators to report information on suspicious transactions. They collect and analyze the data and provide that information to investigative agencies. They don’t directly disclose their database for background check purposes.

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