(MENAFN - AFP) Japan's financial watchdog on Friday ordered one of the country's biggest banks to stop lending money to gangsters, saying it has made little progress in tackling the problem.
Mizuho Bank had processed hundreds of transactions worth about 200 million yen (2.0 million) for "anti-social forces", a common term for Japan's yakuza mobsters.
The Financial Services Agency scolded Japan's third-biggest bank for taking "no substantial steps" in dealing with the issue after it was first discovered two years ago, and pointed to "serious problems" with its compliance monitoring.
Mizuho has one month to draft a plan to address the issue, the watchdog said.
In response, the lender said it "takes this order very seriously and deeply regrets these occurrences".
Mizuho "expresses its deepest and most sincere apologies to its clients and all related parties for any concern or inconvenience this may have caused," it said in a statement.
Like the Italian mafia or Chinese triads, the yakuza engages in activities ranging from gambling, drugs, and prostitution to loan sharking, protection rackets, white-collar crime and business conducted through front companies.
The gangs, which themselves are not illegal, have historically been tolerated by the authorities, although there are periodic clampdowns on some of their less savoury activities