Japan Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Japan’s black market. Intelligence and security information collected from government agencies, news articles and other public data sources.

Is it safe to travel to Japan?

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 of 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.

(Additional methamphetamine facts and statistics.)

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.

The Dojin-Kai is the largest Yakuza group operating in the Kyushu area of Japan, with 1,150 members. Next in size is the Kudo-Kai, which has 1,020 members, and the Dojin-Kai with 500 members.

There are 22 organized crime syndicates active in Japan with a total of 80,00 members.

Source:  CJ, “NPA chief: New anti-gang measures aiming to restrict yakuza activities,” Tokyo Reporter, December 27, 2012.

In a national survey of companies in Japan, 11.7 percent of those companies reported to receiving extortion attempts from Japanese Organized Crime syndicates.

Out of 2,885 companies that responded to the survey, 337 companies stated that they received an extortion demand during their business history. 185 companies said that the demand came within during the 2011-2012 time period.

(Statistics on organized crime activities worldwide.)

Of the 337 companies that received an extortion demand, 62 companies paid either part of the demand or all of it, a rate of 18.4 percent.

The extortion demands by the syndicates involved demanding money, product discounts, or to buy items to solve fake problems and issues created by the gang.

At last count, the number of Yakuza members in Japan in 2010 was at 80,900.

The survey was conducted by the National Police Agency, the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and other organizations.

Source:  “Survey: Yakuza extorted 18% of companies,” Daily Yomiuri, November 17, 2012.

The Recording Industry Association of Japan reported that 4.36 billion files of music and video was illegally downloaded in the country in 2010. During that year, 440 million media files were purchased in Japan.

Source:  “Japan introduces piracy penalties for illegal downloads,” BBC News, September 30, 2012.

Police in Japan estimate that there are around 5,000 members of the Yakuza located outside of Japan.

Within the country, membership in the organized crime syndicates totals around 80,000 people. The Yakuza controls up to $242 Billion in economic activities.

(More on the Japanese Yakuza and other organized crime groups.)

Source:  Mark Galeotti, “Mythologizing the ‘mafiya’,” Moscow News, August 1, 2011.

In Fiscal Year 2011, authorities in Japan discovered 189 cases of tax evasion across the country. 117 cases, or 61.9 percent, were forwarded to prosecutors to be dealt with in the criminal justice system. The total amount of taxes evaded including the penalty fees was $240.4 Million (19.2 Billion Japanese Yen).

In FY 2010, there were 216 cases of tax evasion across Japan.

Source:  “Bad economy also affecting tax evaders,” Asahi Shimbun, “July 8, 2012.