Crime in Japan

News, information and statistics about black market crime in Japan. Data about security risks and threat assessments about crimes in Japan are collected from public criminal justice information and intelligence reports.

Immigration officials in Japan has identified at least 33 cases of foreigners holding counterfeit resident cards between July 2012 through May 2013.

Japan introduced a new foreign resident card system on July 9, 2012, and has issued around 1.1 million cards thus far.

The holders of the counterfeit cards were reported to have overstayed their visas.

Source:  “Foreigners working longer hours via counterfeit resident cards: immigration,” Japan Times, July 13, 2013.

The National Police Agency in Japan stated that 3,300 members of the Yamaguchi-gumi group quit organized crime activities in 2012.

The Yamaguchi-gumi is the largest Yakuza organization in Japan with 27,700 members. The group accounts for over 40 percent of the 63,200 Yakuza members in Japan as of 2012.

Source:  AFP, “Japan mob publishes magazine for gangsters: reports,” Google News, July 10, 2013.

In the Japanese criminal gangs, members cut off their pinkie finger in a ritual called “yubitsume” whenever they have made a serious offense to the gang. Many former Yakuza members have a difficult time finding jobs due to the social stigma surrounding the gang.

A prosthetic expert in Japan creates silicone finger extensions for former Yakuza members. The price for the pinkie extension is $3,000. The expert makes about 20 to 30 fingers for former Yakuza members each year.

Source:  Stephen Williams, “Meet Japan’s specialist in helping ex-Yakuza mobsters replace their missing digits,” New York Daily News, June 8, 2013.


Japan’s National Police Agency reported that up to 213 yakuza groups were either broken up by police or dissolved on their own in 2013. The number of yakuza gang members in these groups was a combined 1,336 members.

In addition to these members, around 600 members quit and left organized crime activities in Japan in 2012.

The largest yakuza group in Japan, the Yamaguchi-gumi, had a reported 27,700 members at the end of 2012.

Source:  Kenji Ogata, “Police beef up career support for former yakuza,” Asahi Shimbun, May 7, 2013.

In 2012, a total of 2,224 companies in Japan were employing former Yakuza members, according to a survey conducted by the National Police Agency. The number of companies hiring workers was down from the high of 5,570 in 1995.

Police officials in Japan stated that out of the 1,254 Yakuza members who left their groups between 2009 and 2011, a total of 222 ended up returning to organized crime activities due to difficulties in finding jobs.

Source:  Kenji Ogawa, “Police beef up career support for former yakuza,” Asahi Shimbun, May 7, 2013.

Japan’s National Police Agency estimates that around 600 people quit their membership in Yakuza groups in 2012. Out of that total, 5 were able to find new employment at legitimate jobs through the use of support services.  7 former yakuza members were able to find employment in 2010, and 3 found jobs in 2011.

One of the reasons in the difficulty of former gang members finding jobs is due to the unique yakuza custom of cutting their own fingers. When a member causes problems for his group, the member cuts off a finger and presents it to the group as a sign of penance.

Businesses in Japan have been reluctant to hire individuals without fingers, as many customers do not want to have dealings with former gang members.

Source:  Kenji Ogata, “Prosthetist gives a helping finger to former yakuza,” Asahi Shimbun, April 3, 2013.

Japan’s National Police Agency reported that the largest Yakuza group in Japan, the Yamaguchi-gumi (gumi translates to group), had 27,700 members at the end of 2012.

Source:  AFP, “Japan’s NO.2 yakuza jailed for extortion,” GlobalPost, March 22, 2013.

The National Police Agency in Japan stated that there were 63,200 Yakuza members in the country in 2012. The number of gang members was declined by 7,100 from the previous year.

It is the first time since 1958 where the total number of gang members in Japan has been below 70,000. Back in 2009, the number of reported gang members was as high as 80,000.

Police across Japan arrested 24,139 full members and associates in 2012, a decline of 2,130 arrests from the year before. Most of the arrests were for violations of the Stimulants Control Law.

Source:  “NPA: Number of yakuza members drops sharply in 2012,” Tokyo Reporter, March 7, 2013.

According to Japanese Custom Officials, there were 31 cases of attempted drug smuggling from Africa into Japan in 2012. A total of 81 kilograms of illegal drugs was detected by Customs.

The number of drugs attempting to enter Japan from Africa has continued to grow within the past several years. In 2007, there were 0 cases of smuggling from Africa. In 2008, there were 8 cases f smuggling involving 8 kilograms of stimulants. In 2010, there were 43 cases of drug smuggling involving 144 kilograms, and in 2011 there were 44 cases involving 84 kilograms of drugs.

Since 2010, the number of drug smuggling cases from Africa has outnumbered the amount of drug smuggling cases from China.

Source:  “Stimulants smuggled into Japan increasingly from unstable African nations,” Mainichi, February 23, 2013.

The National Police Agency reported that 27 human trafficking victims were found in the country in 2012. The number of victims found increased by 2 from 2011.

11 of the trafficking victims were women from Japan, up from the 4 Japanese women rescued in 2011.

A total of 44 cases was detected by police across Japan during the year. In 2011, police investigated 25 cases.

Source:  “Japanese human trafficking victims up,” Daily Yomiuri, February 8, 2013.