This image was lost some time after publication.

Jake Adelstein is an American reporter who spent the last 15 years covering Japanese organized crime for that nation's largest paper. I have to admit I always thought the Japanese yakuza crime syndicates were some overblown fantasy movie creation, but turns out they're actually very real, 80,000 strong, and they want to kill Jake Adelstein. You learn something new every day! Adelstein got along with the cops and the gangsters fine for a while, until he tried to break a scoop about the "John Gotti of Japan" flying to the US for a liver transplant. "Erase the story or be erased," said the gangsters, dramatically. So Adelstein decided to hold off on the story until things blew over. But that plan didn't quite work out:

I knew enough to take the threat seriously. So I took some advice from a senior Japanese detective, abandoned the scoop and resigned from the Yomiuri Shimbun two months later. But I never forgot the story. I planned to write about it in a book, figuring that, with Goto's poor health, he'd be dead by the time it came out. Otherwise, I planned to clip out the business of his operation at the last minute.

I didn't bargain on the contents leaking out before my book was released, which is what happened last November. Now the FBI and local law enforcement are watching over my family in the States, while the Tokyo police and the NPA look out for me in Japan. I would like to go home, but Goto has a reputation for taking out his target and anyone else in the vicinity

Sucks. Adelstein also says that Japanese law enforcement is being uncooperative with the FBI, which is trying to keep potential Adelstein assassins out of the country.

Also: the yakuza makes most of its money from child porn, which is legal to possess in Japan. I now think of the Japanese as both scarier and sleazier than I did an hour ago. Be sure to buy Adelstein's book, so he can buy some guns.