As part of an anti-yakuza initiative announced recently, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police are calling on citizens to decline offers from the yakuza to help out at traditional festivals. In the past, yakuza gangs have been known to operate snack booths and other vending stalls at festivals throughout Japan.
According to a report on TV Asahi, Tokyo police recently succeeded in persuading citizens to operate all the booths at a festival at the Kitazawa Hachiman shrine in Setagaya Ward. One of the booth operators said the community wanted to localize the festival and ensure total safety.
The National Police Agency will start a broader initiative which will go into effect on Oct 1 to eradicate yakuza involvement in sporting and other events, and hope that the Kitazawa Hachiman festival will serve as a model for success.