An unnamed boss of one of Japan’s organised crime groups complained to a journalist from the Daily Shincho newspaper that Covid had impacted yakuza profits from several of the legitimate businesses that it operates.
The boss did not comment regarding revenues from illegal activities such as gambling and drug trafficking. Instead he spoke about legal businesses such as pop-up food stalls that the yakuza operate in prime areas during festivals and events. The authorities cancelled many of these events, such as for example the Cherry Blossom festival in Tokyo’s Ueno Park.
Covid and the Yakuza – dwindling sales from foodstalls
‘We usually make the most money selling to folks visiting shrines at the year’s end and New Years. But this year cause of Covid-19, it’s become completely impossible.
Compared to previous years, our profits are only one-third of what we usually make. The number of operating food stalls has shrunk because of government anti-Covid-19 measures, and in addition to that, the crowds visiting shrines have gone thinner.”Yakuza Boss, speaking to the Daily Shincho newspaper
‘Even Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, which receives the most visitors on New Years in Japan, has shortened our operating hours. No one’s around even at eight or nine at night, which are usually the peak hours.”Yakuza Boss, speaking to the Daily Shincho newspaper
A danger to gang members
The ageing members of the yakuza are in the age group most at risk from Covid. According to Soranews24 the yakuza has suspended celebratory gatherings and drinking parties. Many yakuza members are also avoiding in-person work in order to reduce the risk of getting the virus.
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