What is "Mikajime-ryo"? Do you have to pay Protection money/Mikajime-ryo when You have a Bar in Japan?

What is "Mikajime-ryo"? Do you have to pay Protection money/Mikajime-ryo when You have a Bar in Japan?

Source: Irasutoya
Source: Irasutoya

ever heard of mikajime-ryo? What is "3rd-closing-fee"?

are you planning to open bar in Japan? need a lot of research!

We work with the polices/authorities/lawyers in/outside Japan from time to time to tackle various types of crimes/scammers. 


When we helped companies enter Japan market, some asked us if they have to pay "protection money" to mafia groups when they open a bar, restaurant in Japan.


We were aware of the protection money activities in many countries. South Italy is probably well known. In many countries esp. emerging ones, you often really can not avoid such cost. Sometimes it is not a mafia group but the local authorities themselves ask for such money. In that case, you need to decide if you should really enter that market or go and find alternatives.


Yet, the impression of Japan is so peaceful so that very few expect such a crime exists. It is strange because many know Yakuza exist in Japan (from news, movies and games) and how they make a living?


Even in a peaceful looking part of Tokyo, some restaurant owners there told us that they pay some "fee" because it is a must. It surprises us. 


It is called Mikajime-ryo ("みかじめ料" literally meaning the "3rd-closing-fee"). The term is said to come from the closing day being a 3rd of every month or the deadline being a 3 day.


Our advise is "No" and if asked for such a money, go to the police right away and work with them closely.

At the same time, it means when you open a restaurant or even non food related business, there is always a risk that you may be asked to pay such money. It is because there are reports every year that people had to pay such money in Japan.

The most recent one as of Dec, 2022 is from Hokkaido; in 2022 there were 46 cases where the authority had to render the orders to stop such activities in Hokkaido.


The mafia does not ask just money from you because it can criminalizes such an action easily. To avoid being arrested easily, it can be often some products to sell to you. Thus such a fee can be disguised as a normal business trade. Fake flowers/decorative fake plants and wet towels are common items the shop needs to buy. The police says that towards the end of the year the mafia group may try to sell some lucky charm ornaments for the new year for an excessive price.


The fee usually 3,000JPY per month to 10,000JPY per month based on the Hokkaido police. In Osaka case, one shop paid 20,000JPY per month in 2022.


If you open a sex related shop and a shop with high revenue potential, the risk is even higher. You need to carry out very careful research and also advise from the relevant authorities/experts in the field.


Related recent articles about Mikajime-ryo:

<UPDATED 2024>

It was over 2 years after this article. Even now you google "みかじめ料 (mikajimeryo)" in Japan, you get many articles about the topic. 


Case in Wakayama

In the case involving the crackdown on an illegal casino in Wakayama City and the subsequent arrest and prosecution of male co-owners, two men were arrested on suspicion of violating laws related to organized crime and criminal profits. They were accused of collecting 1 million JPY in cash from the casino's operator under the guise of advance payment, knowing that it was part of the illegal casino's criminal proceeds. However, the Wakayama District Public Prosecutors Office decided to drop the case due to insufficient evidence, stating that there was not enough evidence to establish the facts.

Source: Wakayama TV May, 2024


Case in Gifu

The prefectural police conducted simultaneous patrols using "yakuza exclusion rollers" in designated areas under the Gifu Prefecture ordinance for the exclusion of organized crime in Gifu City, as well as the vicinity of Ogaki Station in Ogaki City and of Takayama Station in Takayama City.

Under this ordinance, penalties are imposed for acts such as giving or receiving advance payments in designated areas. In March of this year, the prefectural police arrested one person under suspicion of violating the same ordinance. The police conducted these patrols again to reassess the situation and gain a better understanding of the circumstances.

Source: Chunichi news April, 2024


Case in Oita

On the 18th, the Oita Prefectural Public Safety Commission announced that it had issued a recommendation for violation of the prefectural ordinance on the exclusion of organized crime against two individuals, including a business operator, for allegedly handing over cash under the guise of "advance payments." This is the first recommendation of its kind related to "advance payments" within the prefecture.

According to the prefectural police, the male business operator engaged in business within the prefecture had been handing over 120,000JPY in cash to a male gang member within the prefecture under the guise of "advance payments" from May to October last year, with payments of 20,000JPY per month. This information came to light during another investigation conducted by the police.

Both individuals have reportedly admitted to the violations.

The Oita Prefecture ordinance on the exclusion of organized crime was implemented in April 2011, and this marks the sixth recommendation issued under the ordinance, with the use of "advance payments" being a first-time occurrence.

Source:  OBS Oita NEWS March, 2024

Source: Irasutoya
Source: Irasutoya

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