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its own website, complete with a corporate song and a strong anti-drugs message, as the yakuza looks to turn around its outdated image and falling membership.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 death toll from landslides in Hiroshima increased to 70 on Wednesday, while 18 people remained missing after the first of the rain-induced landslides hit the northern part of the western Japan city on Aug. 20. (Jiji Press)
Users of free wireless Internet connections at Japan's Narita, Kansai and Kobe airports are vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping of their e-mail and web browsing, a study by an information and communications specialist showed Tuesday. (Bangkok Post)
The number of babies born in Japan in the January to June period dropped 2.7 percent from a year earlier to 496,391, pointing to the possibility of the annual figure slipping below the 1 million mark for the first time on record, government data showed Tuesday. (Japan Times)
A Japanese district court ordered Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Tuesday to pay some 49 million yen in compensation over the suicide of an evacuee from the March 2011 nuclear accident at the company's Fukushima No. 1 power plant. (Jiji Press)
Thai police said Monday (Aug 25) they have questioned five women who were paid up to US$12,500 each by a Japanese man known to them as "Jack" to act as surrogate mothers. The case emerged after nine babies were found with nannies in a Bangkok apartment. (channelnewsasia.com)