The Yakuza And The Banks

Grappling with $350 billion in bad loans, Japan now realizes mobsters cemented ties to the banking system that will be hard to break

With his chiseled features and cinder-block build, Hiroshi Asaji looks menacing without much effort. As a self-proclaimed "land turner," he was hired by property speculators in Osaka to force reluctant owners into selling lucrative property sites during Japan's 1980s real estate explosion. His tactics? Everything from placing blaring stereo speakers next to the house of a stubborn resident to hiring a gang to crush six ribs of another owner. Asaji makes no secret of the fact that he sometimes committed crimes and worked closely with the yakuza, Japan's criminal gangs--all confirmed by the Osaka police.

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