Japan's biggest organised crime syndicate has launched its own website, complete with a corporate song and a strong anti-drugs message, as the yakuza looks to turn around its outdated image and falling membership.
The clunky-sounding Banish Drugs and Purify the Nation League website is an offering from the Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan's largest yakuza grouping.
It includes shaky footage of members making their new year pilgrimage to a shrine. The soundtrack is a traditional folk-style song with lyrics extolling the virtues of the "Ninkyo" spirit - an ideal of masculinity that battles injustice and helps the weak.
"Nothing but Ninkyo, that is the man's way of life," say the lyrics. "The way of duty and compassion, bearing the ordeal for our dream."
Another video shows men with crew cuts pounding sticky rice for a new year festival, and there are galleries of pictures showcasing the cleanup work members did in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami and the 1996 Kobe earthquake.
The website is not the Yamaguchi-gumi's first foray into media - the crime syndicate last year began publishing a magazine for its members that includes a poetry page, senior gangsters' fishing diaries and a message from the boss.
The Tokyo District Court on Friday sentenced a 22-year-old man to 22 years in prison for fatally stabbing his teenage ex-girlfriend last October in a high-profile stalking case that sparked allegations of incompetence in the Mitaka Police Department. (Japan Times)
A psychiatrist who examined the 16-year-old girl suspected of killing and dismembering her classmate in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, called a child consultation center in the city in June to warn that she might commit murder, but prefectural officials failed to take any action, it was learned Thursday. (Japan Times)
A suspected serial rapist who made headlines after briefly escaping from the Niigata District Court in June is now suspected of involvement in three alleged murders in Niigata Prefecture. (Japan Times)
This week the annual charity event known as the Sumo Run took place in London's Battersea Park. To raise money for education in sub-Saharan Africa, participants don inflatable sumo suits and run the 5km course around the park, no doubt delighting passersby in the country that gave us Monty Python. (rocketnews24.com)
An independent judicial panel of citizens said Thursday it has decided that three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. merit indictment over the 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant. (Kyodo)
On July 16, Kanagawa Prefectural Police arrested Koichi Yokoyama, a former Liberal Democratic Party member of the Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly, for allegedly possessing stimulant drugs at his apartment in Yokohama last month. (Tokyo Reporter)
Osaka police said Wednesday they failed to report roughly 81,000 criminal cases to the National Police Agency between 2008 and 2012, or nearly 10 percent of the total reported by the prefectural police force during the five-year period. (Kyodo)