Incidents by former yakuza have been increasing in recent years. A few days ago, a man who appeared to be a former yakuza member was arrested for locking himself in a post office with a gun. Why would a former yakuza member be arrested for such an incident after quitting the yakuza?
Taro Jongjang, himself a former yakuza who has been in prison three times and is now active as a virtual youtuber (VTuber), talks about the environment that awaits retired yakuza.
“Basically, once you become a yakuza, you are a yakuza until you die, so you can’t quit unless you are sentenced to either excommunication or insulation by the clan you belong to. In addition to the fact that money is disappearing from the yakuza world more and more as the clampdown on the yakuza gets tighter, many banks and real estate companies will not do any business with them until more than five years have passed since they left the yakuza world, so many of them have difficulty making a decent living.”
Because of these circumstances, after quitting the yakuza, many people are deliberately arrested and end up living in jail or on welfare.
The scary thing about such quitters is that they quit with the weapons they had when they were in the gang. He says that the special circumstances of the yakuza world make such a frightening situation.
“Recently,” he said, “when something happens that is below the rank and file, executive-level people who had nothing to do with it are arrested. So when someone is out of touch, a letter of excommunication is immediately issued, and since the management of weapons is completely my responsibility, I have to surrender with my weapons.”
Although he has weapons from his yakuza days, he has very little money. It may be that the devil may be in the details when they are in dire need of a livelihood.
Taro Jongjang feels that there is something about the yakuza press in such a difficult situation.
“In the case of the gun holocaust in Saitama this time, information that he was a former yakuza spread within hours. Yet, it was not reported very well. Probably because they didn’t want the figure to remain as an image of yakuza and gangsters to become an old man. I think he wanted to make sure that the police would not destroy the image that yakuza and gangsters are scary.”
Yakuza are in a difficult situation where they are either in jail or on welfare after quitting. If such a situation continues, incidents like this one will gradually increase. We cannot afford to loosen regulations, but the time may have come when we must increase the means of rehabilitation.
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PHOTO： Kyodo News