The National Police Agency in Japan reported that the number of members in Japanese organized crime groups totaled 58,600 in 2013. The number of Yakuza members in 2013 was lower than the 63,200 reported in 2012.
This is the first time on record that the number of Yakuza members across the country was below 60,000.
Security experts in Japan state that there are various reasons for the decline in membership. Police have recently introduced tougher enforcement against the Yakuza, as well as a poor public image and a slowing Japanese economy has made the life of a gangster much more difficult in the country.
The largest Yakuza group in Japan is still the Yamaguchi-gumi. The group had a total of 25,700 members in 2013, a decline of 2,000 members from the year before. The second largest gang, the Sumiyoski-kai, had 9,500 gangsters on its roll, a decline of 1,100 from the previous year.
Source: AFP, “Membership of Japan’s yakuza crime gangs falls to all-time low,” Guardian, March 6, 2014.