On Thursday, April 27th, 2017, over 75 guests attended a lunch talk at the Ala Moana Hotel given by Grant Newsham on “The Other Side of Japan: Yakuza”. Mr. Newsham provided an enthralling picture of Yakuza in today’s Japan – their involvement in all levels of Japanese society and their impact on domestic and global business and government affairs. Mr. Newsham’s personal anecdotes and stories allowed attendees an inside look into yakuza operations and how they wield influence over infrastructure development and political figures and events. Perhaps most surprising to the audience was learning of the yakuza presence in Hawaii.
The yakuza is a blanket term for Japan’s organized crime groups. They were traditionally federations of gamblers and street merchants and their history dates back hundreds of years. Today, there are 21 major groups with more than 53,000 members, according to the National Police Agency. Many of their money-making activities are illegal but they also run legitimate enterprises.
A Retired U.S. Marine Colonel, Mr. Newsham is an independent business risk consultant specializing in organized-crime, corruption, fraud, and other oft-overlooked threats to private companies doing international business. He lived in Japan for over 20 years and served as a U.S. Diplomat before spending over a decade with a major American financial firm fending off risk-threats to private companies.