We don’t quite understand how this works, but apparently the economic situation in Japan has gotten so bad, that Yakuza, its Mafia, is making its recruits in engage in rigorous tests to ensure that they’re up to snuff, and able to compete in the modern economy. It’s their equivalent of the “Series 7” (via Rolfe Winkler)
Bloomberg: News of all this first appeared last month in the Mainichi newspaper. Police found the exam during a mob investigation in western Japan. Its timing coincides with the fallout from organised-crime laws that went into effect in late 2008. Gangster groups can be held responsible for actions of even the lowest street-level associates. Kobe, Japan-based Yamaguchi-gumi alone has about 40,000 members.
Areas of study include everything from phone fraud to dumping of industrial waste to auto theft to securities laws. The exercise is aimed at avoiding lawsuits as stagnation eats into profits from real estate, construction and stock trading.
This latter category has kept authorities extraordinarily busy. The yakuza invasion of Japan’s financial industry has been amazing and rapid. And intimate observers joke about feeling nostalgic for the days when the yakuza were simply thugs wearing bad suits and sporting full-body tattoos.