More than 100 members of Japan’s PGA to resign over yakuza ties

News & Views - December 20th, 2013

More than 100 members of Japan’s Professional Golfing Association will resign after two senior officials were found to have ties to the Japanese mafia.

All 91 representatives of the organization will resign en masse, including its chairman, Shizuo Mori, following reports that one of the PGA’s vice-chairmen and a director had played golf and dined with the head of one of the yakuza ogranized crime families.

The men reportedly met the ganglord between March and June this year on the southern island of Kyushu. They were expelled from the association in October.

The current representatives decided to resign to “restore public trust in the body.”

“We take the matter very seriously,” the association’s current vice-chairman, Nibuyuki Abe, told Jiji Press. “We want to do our utmost to prevent something similar from happening again.”

The association will elect new officials next month, including a chairman chosen from the board of directors.

This comes amid a crackdown on the yakuza to weaken their grip on illicit activities, such as gambling, loan sharking and prostitution. The yakuza is a powerful network of more than 20 underworld gangs, with around 78,000 members in total.

Under local ordinances, individuals and companies that are found to do business with the yakuza are warned, and their names made public if they refuse to sever ties. It has recently been revealed that Japan’s top three banks have made millions of dollars’ worth of transactions with yakuza-connected individuals.

By Maesie Bertumen

Image: shibuya246/Flickr