The Fukuoka prefectural government said Monday it will pay transportation and accommodation fees for gangsters seeking to leave organized crime groups from April, a rare initiative aimed at promoting their return to society and weakening syndicates.
Yakuza members wishing to cut ties with underworld groups but who are afraid of revenge and cannot rely on families or friends for refuge will be entitled to the aid, according to the prefectural police, which is administering the new policy.
The southwestern Japan prefectural government earmarked 4.2 million yen ($39,400) for the expenses in the draft budget for fiscal 2018 starting April, including funds for lodging and travel for job interviews at companies outside Fukuoka.
Kitakyushu, the second-largest city in Fukuoka Prefecture, is home to major Japanese crime syndicate Kudo-kai. Local police have been making efforts to facilitate gangsters' departure from organized groups and to promote their employment, in coordination with police nationwide.
Measures to protect witnesses in criminal trials involving Kudo-kai will also be strengthened, such as by setting up more security cameras at witnesses' homes and assessing whether the syndicate is preparing to launch an attack on a witness.