How have the Yakuza and the Triads been permitted to flourish?

Essay by cbobxUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, April 2007

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In much the same way as legitimate businesses, Japan’s Yakuza and China’s Triads have been able to flourish because they target local conditions and customs. A greater appreciation of how crime is perceived by police forces, governments and economies is needed in order to understand the reasons for the success and growth of organised crime in these regions. This paper will demonstrate that the Yakuza and the Triads have been encouraged to flourish under these country-specific factors, and also that both Japan and China satisfy the greater criteria needed for organized crime to develop.

There are three historical conditions which allow organised crime to develop: “abdication (possibly combined with rejection) of legitimate government power, excessive bureaucratic power and the potential of illegal markets” (Anderson, 1994; 35).With political upheavals in China during the last century in the forms of the end of imperialism, civil war, communism and the new economic emergence, the lack of uniform acceptance in China is accentuated, thereby creating a near perfect example to support Anderson’s theory.

With the advent of Communism, a huge, centralised, bureaucratic power has emerged in China, and with it more potential for organised criminal activities such as smuggling and human trafficking. Theoretically at least, the triads have an ideal situation in which to flourish.

In terms of excessive bureaucratic power and the subsequent potential for illegal business, Japan is also a prime candidate. Kaplan and Dubro (2003) provide an ideal example, describing how even in the event of breach of contract, Japanese law makes it notoriously difficult for landlords to evict tenants. The Yakuza subsequently take advantage of this lack of flexibility, enabling them to participate in the construction industry as ‘jiageya thugs’. The construction industry is one of the Yakuza’s largest money-spinners, and provides further support for Anderson’s theory about how a...