Yomiuri Shinbun

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Blog   |   Japan

The high price of writing about the Japanese mafia

"In life, we only encounter the injustices we were meant to correct."
-Igari Toshiro, ex-prosecutor, leading lawyer in the anti-organized crime movement in Japan (1949-2010)

Igari Toshiro was my lawyer, my mentor, and my friend. In the sixteen years I've been covering organized crime in Japan, I've never met anyone more courageous or inspiring--or anyone who looked as much like a pit-bull in human form.

October 8, 2010 11:05 AM ET

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Blog   |   Japan

'Erase it, or be erased': Life on a Japanese mafia hit list

  As a writer from 1993 to 2005 at Japan’s Yomiuri Shinbun newspaper, Jake Adelstein built up a network of police, yakuza, and media contacts. (CPJ) A polite man in a suit gave investigative reporter Jake Adelstein the message from a leader of one of Japan’s organized crime groups when he was first working on the story back in 2005: “Erase it, or be erased.” Adelstein backed off, but he didn’t stop researching Tadamasa Goto, a thuggish leader of the Japanese mafia, or yakuza. The second time, there was no message. In 2008, it was Adelstein’s sources who informed him his relentless inquiries had crossed a line. Don’t go home, they told him—Adelstein is originally from Missouri—America would not be far enough.
February 24, 2010 9:49 AM ET

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