The government has decided on a set of legal measures to root out “sokaiya” corporate racketeers and to have stricter penalties imposed against them, officials said Friday.

A group of 12 ministers agreed that the current legal framework must be revised to that end during the next Diet session, the officials said.

Specifically, the ministers decided they will try to revise the Commercial Code, the Banking Law and the Securities and Exchange Law to impose heavier penalties on companies found to be dealing with sokaiya.

The decision was made at the 12-member ministerial conference, chaired by Chief Cabinet Secretary Seiroku Kajiyama.

The ministers also decided that the government will introduce a new law against such crimes as money laundering during the extraordinary session, which is expected to be convened later this month.

The proposed measures include a new provision in the Commercial Code that will allow for punishment of corporate racketeers who demand money from companies, even if they do not receive any.

In addition, corporate executives will be called on by the government to make firm resolutions to break off their ties with the racketeers.

Each industry will be required to issue an announcement saying they will not provide sokaiya with any benefits, and each firm will be advised to create an in-house body to take antisokaiya measures.

In connection with steps to prevent money laundering, the government is considering creating a special administrative body within the Financial Supervision Agency to collect and analyze information on suspicious funds submitted by financial institutions. That body would be set up next July and take over certain functions from the Finance Ministry.

To help companies get rid of the racketeers, prefectural police will establish racketeering task forces.

These measures were worked out in the wake of a series of payoff scandals involving major Japanese financial institutions, such as Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and Nomura Securities Co.

Officials of the Finance, Construction and trade ministries formed a working team with the National Public Safety Commission in July and have met to discuss what actions should be taken to help companies cut their ties with sokaiya.

“The government, in cooperation with business organizations, will promote the measures,” Kajiyama told reporters.

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