Published on 5th July 2016 by

Yakuza (2010) : One of the safest cities in the world, yet still ridden with organised crime which the law cannot seem to beat.

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Child pornography, along with prostitution and drugs, allows the Yakuza – Japan’s 80 000 strong ‘mafia’ – to rake in 50 billion dollars a year. We pry open a window on this deadly criminal network.

In Tokyo bay, police divers haul heavily tattooed body parts out of the water – “heads, lower body parts and two left ankles have been found”. This is what happens to those who cross the Yakuza. Yet it’s not illegal to be a member and police have no powers to wiretap, plea bargain or offer witness protection. “In the old days they protected the weak from the strong. Today Yakuza live as pimps. They use cocaine, threaten people, and extort money”, says Gijin Kobayashi. After a lifetime with the Yakuza, years of cocaine-fuelled violence and a lengthy stretch in jail, Gijin has sought absolution as a Buddhist monk. He was lucky to escape the Yakuza’s notorious vengeance. Celebrities, journalists and politicians have all felt the Yakuza’s wrath. And they go to any lengths to maintain their power in Japan’s society. “There are no rules when it comes to the Yakuza doing business”, says former Yakuza gangster and convicted killer, Shinji Ishihara, “they’ll do anything to make money”. Japan’s organised crime chief has acknowledged the Yakuza’s stake in child pornography. Yet this sordid mob is still going strong, tainting Japan’s national image.

ABC Australia – 4693

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