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mprisoned in a Japanese hotel room with a Beretta 9mm pistol pressed against his temple, a grim calculus of life and death began to play out in the mind of Australian businessman Miro Mijatovic. Death, as he saw it, was a possibility but not a certainty. I am 66 [1.98m] and I was pretty sure they were going to struggle to deal with getting a body the size of mine out of the hotel, he recalls. The hours rolled by as Mijatovic sat slumped in a chair in a corner of the room, the air lled with cigarette smoke from the chain-smoking yakuza as Japans maosi are known and the sour scent of his own fear-induced sweat. Every now and again [their leader] would just explode and start screaming, You dont know what you are up against! and thumping the table, recalls Mijatovic. For three days the martial arts ght promoter was held like this while the yakuza demanded he relinquish his role as power agent in the booming ght industry. It was only when he agreed to sign his ghters over to the yakuza that he was released unharmed on the proviso that he ee the country for good. Instead, Mijatovic, who at one time looked after swimmer Ian Thorpes interests in Japan, went to the police and launched a probe that resulted in the collapse of the hugely lucrative Japanese ght game. After several years spent in hiding with a contract out on his life, Mijatovic is nally prepared to reveal how he took on the yakuza and exposed one of Japans largest sporting scandals. The two yakuza groups involved in extorting me have now been broken up, Mijatovic told The Weekend Australian Magazine when he arrived Stubborn: Mijatovic, who grew up in Sydneys at The Australians Tokyo bureau west, is still based in to tell the story of his abduction. Tokyo although no As he sees it, a concerted camlonger with a contract paign from law enforcement is out on his life hurting the gangs and that has encouraged him to give his personal account. The yakuzas role in Japanese society is complex. The image of the tattooed gangster, perhaps with a missing little nger, is a popular perception of gang members, and the yakuzas involvement in the sex trade and protection rackets is widely documented. Less well known is the extent of its integration into Japans cultural, political and commercial life. A tacit tolerance of the yakuza has evolved in Japan since its emergence in the 1600s, allowing gangs to operate openly with ofcial business cards and premises bearing their name. But that is all beginning to change. Mijatovic says the suspected murder of anti-yakuza lawyer Toshiro Igari in a Manila hotel room in 2010 (which followed the killing of Nagasakis mayor by a yakuza chief in 2007) sparked unprecedented unity among municipal governments, which have passed uniform antiyakuza laws across Japan. That has really emasculated

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