How America may be funding the Mafia in Japan.

Those of us who may have thought of Japan as a country of respectful, law-abiding peaceful citizens, would do well to think again.

In a Washington Post article titled: “The Mob is Big in Japan”, the writer, Jake Adelstein paints a far different picture. Mr. Adelstein has spent the past 15 years covering the Mafia (Yakuza) as a crime reporter for Japan’s largest newspaper, the Yomiuri Shimbun. He has been so relentless in his reporting, that his life and that of his family are now in danger.

Apparently, Mobs are legal entities there and they have “fan magazines” and comic books. The Japanese National Police Agency (NPA)estimates that the yakuza has nearly 80,000 members. Police say that in Tokyo alone, there are more than 800 yakuza “front companies” in industries such as: investment and auditing firms, construction companies and pastry shops. Disturbingly, it is reported that the mobsters have even opened their own bank in California.

In more recent times, the yakuza have moved into finance. Japan’s Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission know of more than 50 listed companies with ties to the underworld. U.S. investors have invested billions of dollars in the Japanese stock market. How much of that is going towards funding the Japanese Mob? To add further insult to injury, the yakuza makes much of their ill-gotten profits from child pornography. Want to hear something revolting? Owning child porn in Japan is LEGAL.

Investigation firms such as ours constantly advise clients to do their due diligence. How would you like to enter into a business agreement with a Japanese company and later find out that they were a front company for drug runners and child porn peddlers? Remember, you can’t always rely on a government to tell you who the bad guys are and they don’t always wear black hats.

Know what you are getting into and if it is a deal worth pursuing, hire somebody to conduct a thorough investigation or send over a member of your staff to check them out fully and avoid having your reputation damaged down the road.

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