japantoday.com – Due to ever-tougher enforcement of laws and ordinances aimed at members of designated criminal syndicates, Japan’s yakuza have fallen upon hard times. How hard? For the first time since statistics began being kept, reports Spa! (June 26), the total number of gang members in the country dropped below the 20,000 figure.
On May 28, quasi-official broadcaster NHK went so far as to air an installment of its “Close-up Gendai Plus” evening news program titled “Impoverished Gangs.”
“Yakuza who have been hurting financially have been tying up with han-gure (members of non-designated crime groups, such as hot-rod gangs),” a retired gang leader from the Tokai region commented after seeing the NHK program. “But arrangements like those are only found in the big cities like Tokyo and Osaka. The yakuza in rural areas don’t have other groups to fall back on for income. Of course, there are groups that manage to do all right by shamelessly going to extremes without any qualms at all.”
“Still, I was surprised when a fellow gang member told me he’s been pilfering from farms,” he related.
In this particular instance, the 37-year-old gangster, named Uemura (a pseudonym), began stealing agricultural produce from about three years ago. As his colleague tells it, “Up to then he had been overseeing operations of food carts at local shrine festivals or involved in various construction work. But the authorities began putting pressure on the shrines and construction companies shun any ties with yakuza.
“Anyway he got into stealing watermelons. During the daytime, he would send out younger gang members to case out promising patches, and then they’d return at night to see what sort of security, if any, was in place. Then they’d hit the ones that didn’t have tight security.
See this is how crazy 2018 is, the got damn famous and deadly Yakuza out here stealing watermelons to help pay the bills. I um still not going to say anything to crazy about this juuuussstttt in case.