Taint of Organized Crime Leads to Mass-Resignation at Japanese PGA

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By Josh Sens

Crime doesn’t pay.

And neither does playing golf with organized crime bosses.

That’s one lesson from this week’s headlines in Japan, where executives of that country’s Professional Golf Association have opted to resign en masse after two of their colleagues were found to have played golf and socialized with a mafia chief.

As reported in the AFP, the group’s entire leadership—all 91 representatives, including chairman Shizuo Mori, four vice chairman around 20 board directors—will voluntarily give up their posts in an effort to shore up public trust in the organization.

The decision stems from the scandalous news that between March and June of 2013, then-PGA vice chairman Shinsaku Maeda, 61 and board director Tadayoshi Bando, 67, dined and played golf with the head of a yakuza organized crime syndicate on the Japanese island of Kyushu.

That isn’t just bad etiquette. It’s a rules violation. PGA policy forbids organization brass from hobnobbing with crime bosses.

Bando and Maeda were both banished from the PGA in October. But their actions left a taint that Japan’s PGA executives are eager to erase.

“We take the matter very seriously,” current PGA vice chairman Nobuyuki Abe was quoted as saying. “We want to do our utmost to prevent a recurrence of such a case.”

As part of the house-cleaning, new PGA representatives will be elected, and those representatives will choose a fresh slate of directors.

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