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Japan-Russia Space Projects Being Explored 

Propaganda Posters of Soviet Space Program 1958-1963 (12)

The Yomiuri Shimbun reports: The government has begun talks with Russia over a possible collaboration in outer space-related fields, sources said.

The main areas of cooperation are expected to take place at a base in the Russian Far East to launch satellites and joint space-related technology projects.

Hiroshige Seko, minister for economic cooperation with Russia, is scheduled to visit Moscow in November, and a working group is expected to be formed to make specific proposals.

The Japanese and Russian governments have been discussing ways to expand economic and other forms of cooperation in preparation for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s planned visit to Japan in December.

The Russian side brought up the possibility of cooperation in space-related fields in early September, the sources said. Since then, the Japanese government has been studying the matter internally, according to the sources.

Russia is seeking to expand the use of its Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Amur region in its Far East. It has mainly been relying on the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, but embarked on building a domestic base due to reasons including the hefty fees for using the site.

However, Russia has already spent 300 billion rubles (about ¥500 billion) on Vostochny, and further costs are expected. Launching Japanese satellites from this base could help recover the construction costs, the sources said, adding that Russia has shown interest in inviting companies involved in related fields.

For Japan, launching satellites from low-cost Russian rockets could expand the use of outer space by the private sector, such as through communications and observation satellites.

The government is also trying to expand the use of domestically produced satellites for launching commercial satellites. Read the rest of this entry »

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ヤクザの分割 Japan’s Gangsters Find Extortion No Longer Pays, Forcing Yakuza Split

Yamaguchi-gumi

The Yamaguchi-gumi was founded in Kobe in 1915 by Harukichi Yamaguchi as an association of Harukichi_Yamaguchidockworkers. The man credited with building the Yamaguchi-gumi into Japan’s largest yakuza syndicate was Kazuo Taoka, the charismatic third don dubbed ‘the bear’ for clawing his opponent’s eyes during brawls.

Alexander Martin reports: The Yamaguchi-gumi, Japan’s largest and most powerful yakuza crime syndicate, is undergoing a major split on its 100th anniversary after years of police crackdowns and financial strains.

YAKUZA-WSJ

“Such exploits furnished material for countless yakuza movies over the years, some of which implicitly celebrated the gangsters as upholders of traditional Japanese values of loyalty and sacrifice.”

Japanese police, fearing the outbreak of a bloody gang war, have been on alert since news broke in late August that groups within the Yamaguchi-gumi were parting ways with its sixth-generation don. The result is two groups– the Yamaguchi-gumi and a rival syndicate, both of which are based in central Japan.yakuza

“Even today, the existence of yakuza groups isn’t technically illegal. They have offices as well as fan magazines dedicated to their underworld endeavors.”

Experts say the split reflects the harsh environment facing the yakuza, Japan’s homegrown mafia, following a slew of anti-gang laws that have choked off their revenue.

“Clampdowns against the yakuza have been enforced at all points, making it increasingly difficult for them to rack up profits.”

— Yoshiaki Shinozaki, an attorney with decades of experience fighting organized crime

Once tacitly accepted as a necessary evil to handle society’s dirty work, the yakuza are now taboo for large corporations, and gang members are having more trouble extorting money through protection rackets or serving as muscle men in real-estate schemes.

The Yamaguchi-gumi was founded in Kobe in 1915 by Harukichi Yamaguchi as an association of dockworkers. The man credited with building the Yamaguchi-gumi into Japan’s largest yakuza syndicate was Kazuo Taoka, the charismatic third don dubbed “the bear” for clawing his opponent’s eyes during brawls.

“Once tacitly accepted as a necessary evil to handle society’s dirty work, the yakuza are now taboo for large corporations, and gang members are having more trouble extorting money through protection rackets or serving as muscle men in real-estate schemes.”

During Mr. Taoka’s reign from 1946 to his death in 1981, the Yamaguchi-gumi expanded its membership, developed ties with show business and spread its tentacles into political and financial circles.

Yakuza-02

“Public attitudes toward the yakuza hardened over the years. Racketeers known as sokaiya were especially feared by corporate Japan for extorting money by threatening to publicly humiliate and expose corporate secrets at annual shareholders meetings.”

Such exploits furnished material for countless yakuza movies over the years, some of which implicitly celebrated the gangsters as upholders of traditional Japanese values of loyalty and sacrifice. Even today, the existence of yakuza groups isn’t technically illegal. They have offices as well as fan magazines dedicated to their underworld endeavors.

Top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi arrive in Kobe in 1988 for the funeral for their boss, Masahisa Takenaka, who was killed by a splinter group’s gunman. Photo: Associated Press

Top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi arrive in Kobe in 1988 for the funeral for their boss, Masahisa Takenaka, who was killed by a splinter group’s gunman. Photo: Associated Press

“We will undermine them by moving ahead with strategic and focused crackdowns on both their human resources and funding sources.”

— Ichiro Kume, police chief of the prefecture that includes Kobe

But public attitudes toward the yakuza hardened over the years. Racketeers known as sokaiya were especially feared by corporate Japan for extorting money by threatening to publicly humiliate and expose corporate secrets at annual shareholders meetings. In 1997, the former chairman of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank (now part of Mizuho Financial Group) committed suicide after the bank was found to have lent tens of millions of dollars to a sokaiya leader.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The government’s top spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, confirmed signs of recent disorder in the Yamaguchi-gumi and described them as an opportunity to weaken the groups. Read the rest of this entry »


[REWIND] 90s Nostalgia: When Criminal IRS Abuses were a Harmless Seinfeld Punch Line

Seinfeld-IRS-Mafia


Fearing Rape, Female Migrants Are Taking Birth Control Before Crossing The Border

PosterKino

A poster hanging in a migrant shelter in Nogales, Mexico. The text reads “I have the right to be respected physically, sexually and psychologically,” in Spanish. – Jude Joffe-Block

“The women passing through here know that they’re going to be raped”

— Father Pedraza, director of a shelter for migrants in Altar

MEXICO CITY – For Fox News Latino reports: As a priest in the town of Altar, near the Arizona border, the Rev. Prisciliano Pedraza sees migrants stocking up on supplies such as food, water and medicine for treacherous treks through the desert.

A rape tree is what Mexican illegals create with the panties and bras of the women they have raped along the trail to America. After they have had their way with the women and young girls, they force them to hang their panties or bras, on the trees as a trophy or a sign of their conquest.

A rape tree is what Mexican illegals create with the panties and bras of the women they have raped along the trail to America. After they have had their way with the women and young girls, they force them to hang their panties or bras, on the trees as a trophy or a sign of their conquest.

[Also see – Rape tree found near Mexico border]

But he sees female migrants stocking up on something else: contraceptives, which they take preventatively to protect themselves against sexual violence all too common as they make the journey through Mexico to the United States.Rape-crime-NOT-culture

“Migrants are a vulnerable group, and the most vulnerable among them are women.”

Thousands of Central Americans travel through Mexico every year attempting to reach the United States. But because they make the trip illegally, they are vulnerable to kidnappings, extortion and robbery – with organized criminal groups such as Los Zetas often acting in cahoots with law enforcement authorities.

“They go to the pharmacy and buy emergency contraception for their trip to Mexico.”

In the case of women, the crimes include sexual assaults, forcing them to take precautions. They often take alternative routes through Mexico, feigning friendships with men in their group to stay safe while traveling. Increasingly, they are buying and consuming contraceptives before they make their trip.

migrant-rapes

“It’s on the increase,” says Marta Sánchez Soler, an advocate with the MesoAmerican Migrants Movement. “The first ones (doing it) were women from El Salvador, but now it’s everyone.”

Many contraceptives are sold without a prescription in Mexico, including the morning-after pill. Sánchez says some women receive injections before leaving or wear patches.

“They go to the pharmacy and buy emergency contraception for their trip to Mexico. This is they would tell us.”

Most church groups don’t supply the contraceptives – or condone what the women do, but they do help the women in other ways.

“They’re not giving it out, but they’re offering advice,” Sánchez said.Rape-Tree

A network of shelters for migrants stretches the length of Mexico – with most run by Catholic priests and religious, who report being queried about contraceptives by women arriving as guests.

“They’ll arrive at the shelters and ask the priests or people that work there” about buying contraceptives, says Alberto Xicotencatl, director of the diocesan-run migrant shelter in Saltillo, 195 miles from the Texas border at Nuevo Laredo.

[Also see Jude Joffe-Block’s report – Facing Risk Of Rape, Migrant Women Prepare With Birth Control]

But women are less likely than men to stay at migrant shelters, which are often established near railway lines and frequented by Central Americans stealing rides on northbound trains known as “La Bestia,” or, “The Beast” – so named for the way it maims migrants who fall on the tracks and lose limbs.

more-rape-trees

Women attempt to avoid La Bestia, which organized crime now charges $100 to climb aboard, according to Xicotencatl. Criminal groups also prey on migrants while they wait in railway yards for trains to arrive.

“They would rather risk the immigration authorities than organized crime,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Corruption Case: Who is Gangland Dragon Head Raymond ‘Shrimp Boy’ Chow?

raymond-chow

For the LATimes, Chris Megerian, Richard Winton and Matt Stevens report: The public corruption and arms-trafficking allegations levied against state Sen. Leland Yee on Wednesday may have shocked some, but to those who have kept an eye on the criminal underworld of the San Francisco area, it came as little surprise that the most colorful figure in the indictment was a man authorities say is an ostentatious gangster known as “Shrimp Boy.”

“You could always count on one thing, that he was up to something no good… used to doing things his own way and getting things his own way…. He was always an organizer; he was always a person who was behind the scenes.”

— Ignatius Chinn, former California Department of Justice agent

Raymond Chow, who has been in and out of prison for his roles in the San Francisco Chinatown underworld since the mid-1970s, also identifies himself as the “dragon head” of a Freemason organization that was among several places raided early Wednesday by federal and local law enforcement officials. Also among them was Yee’s three-story home in San Francisco.

All told, 26 people were identified in the complaint as having violated federal statutes. They were accused of participating in a free-ranging criminal ring that dabbled in a spectrum of activity, including illegal marijuana “grows” and a scheme to transport stolen liquor to China. Read the rest of this entry »


Largest bust in Ontario history nets about eleventy-gazillion pills worth of primo meth

OPPVAUGHAN, Ont. — Five Ontario residents are facing numerous drug-related charges after what police are calling the largest seizure of methamphetamine and clandestine drug labs in Ontario’s history.

Members of the Asian Organized Crime Task Force — which includes police forces from across Ontario and Canada — revealed details Thursday of the investigation into a crime ring they allege involved large-scale production of methamphetamine. Read the rest of this entry »