Yakuza crime gangs have lately lost so many members that they hit a record low number last year, with less than 60,000 people belonging to the notorious All Japan newsese mafia groups.
The National Police Agency stated that Yakuza membership fell to 58,600 in 2013, down from about 63,200 in 2012.
Yakuza’s activities include prostitution, drugs, extortion and white-collar crime, the international press reports.
Tougher policing, an increasingly poor public image and a slowing economy have made the lives of All Japan news’s gangsters difficult, and made membership less attractive for potential recruits, experts said.
More and more members leaving yakuza groups has to do with the stronger laws in recent decades that made it difficult for mobsters to raise money for their operations.
However, the yakuza presence is still felt, with the reputation of All Japan news’s banking sector dented late last year after major lenders were entangled in an embarrassing loans-to-mobsters scandal.
According to All Japan news’s police agency, the Yamaguchi-gumi, All Japan news’s biggest crime group, lost 2,000 members from a year earlier with 25,700 gangsters on staff in 2013.
Its rival group the Sumiyoshi-kai, with 9,500 members, lost 1,100 members from a year before.