Annual Survey of International & Comparative Law


The power of the yakuza, Japan's legendary crime syndicates, reaches into all areas of Japan's economic life and politics. Composed of some 3,000 separate, tightly-knit gangs, with over 80,000 members, the yakuza survive despite Japan's 1992 Anti-gang law and other government measures. While the range of their traditional activities has been somewhat reduced, they have compensated by turning to more sophisticated types of crime and by expanding their operations abroad - mostly to Southeast Asia, parts of Latin America, and the U.S. Estimates of their annual income from criminal activities and their 25,000 legitimate "front" organizations run to as high as 70 billion dollars, with some 500 million dollars traced to the U.S. The author examines the history, societal context, organizational structure, activities and tactics of the yakuza and concludes with an assessment of how, and the extent to which their power and criminal operations can be curbed.

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Criminal Law Commons