Keep up with the news by installing RT’s extension for . Never miss a story with this clean and simple app that delivers the latest headlines to you.

 

Japan’s Justice Minister admits Yakuza ties 30 years later

Published time: October 13, 2012 11:32
Edited time: October 13, 2012 16:01
Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka attends his press conference following the first cabinet meeting at prime minister's official residence in Tokyo.(AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)

Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka attends his press conference following the first cabinet meeting at prime minister's official residence in Tokyo.(AFP Photo / Toshifumi Kitamura)

The phrase ‘better late than never’ rang true for new Japanese Justice Minister Keishu Tanaka, as he was forced to apologize for decades-old mafia ties. He claimed ignorance of any criminal links over a Yakuza wedding he attended 30 years ago.

A Japanese tabloid shed light on the scandal, claiming that the 74-year-old Tanaka was a guest of honor at a Yakuza wedding three decades ago. The story also alleged that he had acted as a matchmaker for a senior Yakuza member.

The claims forced the Minister to publicly apologize for attending the wedding, though he maintained he was unaware that the event was connected to the mafia.

"If I had known he was a member [of a Yakuza group], I would not have been there," he said, adding that he only realized afterwards that “they were members of a crime syndicate.”

The news was immediately trumpeted by the opposition Liberal Democratic Party to criticize Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s new cabinet.

"This is unbelievable," leading opposition Liberal Democratic Party member Yoshihide Suga said in an interview with NTV. "Justice Minister is literally the guardian of the law. He should resign as he has admitted to it."

Tanaka, however, resolved to remain at his post for the time being.

­

Questionable record

Tanaka became Justice Minister last week following a cabinet reshuffle, but came under fire straight away amid claims he had received over $5,000 in illegal donations from a Chinese benefactor in 2006.

Tanaka said he returned the funds, and that his staff has launched an investigation into his financial records. He vowed to report their findings as soon as they are made available to him.

The Japanese Yakuza is a group of organized crime syndicates that dominated Japan’s criminal underworld during the 20th century. Akin to Italy’s Mafia, the Yakuza traffic in drugs, gambling and prostitution. The group operates internationally, and according to statistics collated by the Japanese police the group had over 80,000 members in 2009.

Comments

Add comment

Authorization required for adding comments

Register or

Name

Password

Show password

Register

or Register

Request a new password

Send

or Register

To complete a registration check
your Email:

OK

or Register

A password has been sent to your email address

Edit profile

X

Name

New password

Retype new password

Current password

Save

Cancel

Follow us

Follow us