Wednesday, June 10, 2020

"Yakuza, Iranians tussle over drug-dealing turf" in Tokyo

Tokyo Reporter:
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, many bars in the area that Nukariya typically receives protection money from have shut down, which was another factor in the dispute, police said.
From a 2014 article:
A wave of Iranian immigrants headed to Japan after the Iraq-Iran war (1980-1988), when jobs were hard to come by. At that time, Japan was looking for foreign workers to do tough jobs. This attracted many Iranians from the lower classes, quite a few of whom already had criminal records back home.

However, it was really difficult to make it in Japan. What we found upon arrival is that nobody would hire us during our first three months, which was the length of our work visas. Only after the visas expired were we suddenly able to get hired. But because at that point we were there illegally, employers paid only about a fourth of the normal salary, and constantly threatened to hand us over to the police so that we wouldn’t protest.

Small salaries coupled with the high cost of living in Japan lured many Iranians toward a life of crime. Of course, it helped that some already had experience in this domain, but most had come to Japan looking to make an honest living.

In Japan, Yakuzas are at the top of the crime pyramid. The lowest rung is the chinpira, who are the street-level thugs. They started hiring Iranians to sell their drugs.