The Japanese government has found a way to ostracize the yakuza underworld groups further by banning their members from giving out candies to children who are out trick or treating during Halloween.
The Prefectural Assembly of Hyogo has unanimously approved the proposal to revise the Organized Crime Exclusion Ordinances on Monday, according to SoraNews24. The newly added provision will make it illegal for the Yamaguchi-gumi, one of Japan’s largest yakuza clans, to hand candies to children during Halloween at their headquarters in Kobe.
The Yamaguchi-gumi has been handing out candies to children at their HQ during Halloween since 2013.
In addition to banning the members from handing out treats, the revised ordinance also makes it illegal for children to enter their offices, giving out money or gifts to children and contacting minors through phone or email and encouraging them to join the underground group, The Telegraph reported.
The new provision is expected to take effect on Oct. 26. It was initially discussed by officials in July following the increased number of gang violence cases in Hyogo Prefecture since last year.
Those who are found guilty of breaking the new provision will face a sentence of up to six months in prison as well as fines of up to 500,000 yen ($4,716).
“The authorities are acting to deprive the Yamaguchi-gumi of any good public relations that might make them appealing to young people,” Jake Adelstein, author of “Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan,” said. “They have been trying to ostracise this gang from society for some years and this is just the latest measure to do that.”
Japanese authorities are also keeping people away from any of the gang’s facilities to keep them from being injured or killed in the ongoing feud between Yamaguchi-gumi’s rival yakuza groups.
“By clamping down like this, they are hoping to deprive them of new blood because the average age of a ‘yakuza’ is now 50 and they’re struggling to attract new members,” Adelstein added.