Fukuoka, a prefecture in the far west region of Japan, has been the most fierce battleground between the police and the yakuza since 2010, when yakuza exclusion ordinance came into effect.
Before anti-yakuza law was in effect in 1992, it was usual that a police officer in charge for organize crime routinely visits yakuza’s offices, takes tea with gangsters, then gets current information of underworld. But the law and the new ordinances on 2010 made confrontation between the police and the gangs, and it spurted harsh battles that even citizens involved in.
The police illegalized citizens and firms for paying off the yakuza. This means that if you are a member of a gang, you cannot open an account for bank, cannot contract with a real estate, even order delivery pizza, if the deals are regarded as helping the gang’s activity by the police.
This is a declaration of the war, saying “you can’t live in the place as long as you are a gangster.”
The head of National Police Agency, Takaharu Ando, directly ordered to wipe out Kudokai in April 2010.
Kudokai is the most fierce yakuza in Kyushu district where Fukuoka included. They have been known to be ruthless at least since 2000, when they assaulted incumbent prime minister Abe’s home with bottle grenade. But they are becoming terrorists targeting at not only politicians but business owners in response to the toughen cracking down. They throw away the yakuza’s traditional code of ethics —no harm to residents.
The thugs are armed with military weapons: A Kudokai-associate hid pistols and machine-guns in an apartment in 2011, another associate hid Russian pistols and rocket launcher in a warehouse in 2012.
They exploded the executives’ house of Kyushu Electric Power and Seibu Gass with grenade in 2011. A former police officer in charge for Kudokai was shot in serious injury in 2012. A office of a construction company was shot in 2011.
And there were many other attacks.
The victims of business owners probably were revenged because of refusal to keep relationship with the gang using excuse of the law and ordinance.
In return, the police are fortifying penalty and widen its range:
Fukuoka police set a sign of restricted zone against the yakuza for stores.
They also designated Kudokai as a specific dangerous gang. So that the police can arrest a member of designated gang immediately after his violent demanding acts happen.
But Kudokai attacked not just by physical force, but by suing. On January 18, 2013, they filed a lawsuit against the public safety commission of Fukuoka and Yamaguchi. They claimed there is no evidence for being designated as specific dangerous gang. On top of this, they said that the amended anti-yakuza law breaches freedom of expression and freedom of association which are guaranteed by Japanese constitution.
The accusation is not insane. Some lawers and activists also represent concern.
Battle goes on the internet. Kudokai1888 channel on youtube uploaded several sound-only videos that appeal the aggressive police’s inquiry against a member of the yakuza on the street, maybe for protesting it.
Over a few years of the battle, Fukuoka police’s website shows plunge in number of the yakuza over the last six years.
Certainly the yakuza is shrinking. But the chart shows growing number of quasi-member of the yakuza as white bars. This is a gray zone between underground and the above. They are not a member but quit-persons or associates who are still maintaining ties with the criminal syndicate.
It is inevitable for the police to face with lack of information on the underground. The Japanese authorities were depending on the yakuza until anti-yakuza law was in effect. The police has less networks than before. In fact, the many of the cases which assumed yakuza-related remain unsolved. Now the police seems to be struggling with dealing with gray zone of crime without crime syndicate’s help.
So, the cops are to bank on the citizen’s information.and citizen’s efforts, after cutting tacit tie with the yakuza.
Since April, 2010, Fukuoka prefecture police has been announcing arrested gangsters with his name, accused act, and the date on the official website. The revelation is limited less than a week though.
The gang-associate companies are also announced if it is turn out to be.
And the distribution map of the yakuza syndicates is available on the webpage.
They open a telephone line for anonymous information with 100,000 yen.
It is a flash news from the police directly given. But it seems to pursue getting help from citizens and threaten citizens not to make relationship with the yakuza, through shaming violators publicly.
The future of the battle is still unpredictable, but both of them are transforming and shifting the strategies.