US Surgeons Save Japanese Gangster, Who Can Return To Menacing ReportersEarlier this month we told you about Jake Adelstein, the American reporter who spent 15 years covering organized crime in Japan and who now, unfortunately, finds himself and his family marked for death by an angry gangster. Adelstein's tormentor, Yakuza boss Tadamasa Goto, has been very sick lately; Adelstein's hope was that Goto would pass away, so he could return to America to be with his family without fear of assassination. Well, bad news: it's been revealed that Goto and three of his henchmen got precious, lifesaving liver transplants in Los Angeles (while many others died waiting). Thanks, science!

The four surgeries were done between 2000 and 2004 at a time of pronounced organ scarcity. In each of those years, more than 100 patients died awaiting liver transplants in the Greater Los Angeles region...

The most prominent transplant recipient, Tadamasa Goto, had been barred from entering the U.S. because of his criminal history, several current and former law enforcement officials said. Goto leads a gang called the Goto-gumi, which experts describe as vindictive and at times brutal.

The FBI helped Goto obtain a visa to enter the United States in 2001 in exchange for leads on potentially illegal activity in this country by Japanese criminal gangs, said Jim Stern, retired chief of the FBI's Asian criminal enterprise unit in Washington.

Goto got his liver, Stern said, but provided the bureau with little useful information on Japanese gangs.

In other words, Goto scammed his way into the US, promising information; got his precious liver, while dozens of others died waiting; then gave no good information! Coincidentally, the gangster's trip here for the transplant is the exact story that Adelstein had that got him targeted in the first place.

It's a thorny ethical issue: on one hand, there's the UCLA transplant surgeon, who said "it's not my role to pass moral judgment on the patients who seek my care." On the other hand, there's a very persuasive argument to be made that patients like Goto should be shot with a gun so that bullets pass through them. Jake Adelstein must be so morally conflicted!

[LAT]