Do I need to explain Japanese “Anti-social forces” in an agreement?

Japanese business start-up consultant

The content of this article is what I consider to be generally accepted in Japan. Please note that this is not an unquestioned view.

In Japan, “Anti-social forces” is a difficult term to define in practice, and there was a news report in 2019 when Chief Cabinet Secretary at the time, Yoshihide Suga confirmed at a press conference that the term “Anti-social forces” is an ambiguous term open to differing views about the correct interpretation.

The official name of the Japanese law is “Act on Prevention of Unjust Acts by Organized Crime Group Members” (暴力団員による不当な行為の防止等に関する法律).
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Clauses about “Anti-social forces” are often written in Japanese agreements that are recommended, especially those by government or council officials. When translating the “Anti-social forces” clause, the translation varies from agreement to agreement, but it basically states as follows.

The term, “Anti-social forces” is commonly used in Japan, but I think the term “Organised Crime” is common in Europe. The translation “Anti-social forces” has been in use for a long time and I use it in the same way.

What kind of organisation or activity is intended is defined in an agreement. When I translate an agreement, I often use the words “Racketeer” and “Extortioner”, because my main business target is a business operation and real property transaction in Japan. “Racketeer” is someone who makes money from a dishonest or illegal business activity, and “Extortioner” is a person who obtains something by threatening to expose a scandal.

No matter how far machine translation has progressed, I believe that it is humans who should ultimately be able to check contents. I believe that the day when machines can understand the nuances of the language is still a long way off.

In relation to “Anti-social forces”, there are criminal groups similar to the Mafia around the world, but they are generally a secret criminal organisation. However, from a non-Japanese’s point of view, Japan has a law that gives these organisation a legal definition. For example, Article 15 of the law says police forces can order them not to use their office in the event of conflicts and disputes arising, but conversely, it can be read as saying that they can use the office when they are not involved in a conflict or dispute.

In addition, Article 3 regulates them as “designated organised groups”, and the definition gives the impression that the National Public Safety Commission (the Japanese governmental body) legally designates and licenses those groups as if they are some sort of licensed organisation!

I might be delving into true Japanese nature, and going too far. However, I feel it is typical of Japanese ideas.

I will update every Monday.
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Japanese business consultant
Shihoshoshi Lawyer
(Judicial Scrivener)
Akiko HORI