Japanese mafia bosses, famous for their tattoos and for their generosity?
Japanese mafia bosses, famous for their tattoos and for their generosity?

Japan's notorious yakuza — "gangsters' —​ have displayed (in addition to their trademark tattoos) a peculiar sense of civic duty in the face of past natural disasters, having donated money to victims of the Kobe earthquake in 1995 and the 2011 Fukushima tsunami.

Now, Japanese news site News Postseven reports that yakuza bosses are publicly declining the 100,000 yen ($940) coronavirus relief checks that the government recently agreed to issue to all registered residents. It's apparently a question of reputation as much as magnanimity. "To put it simply, it's not worth it taking a mere 100,000 yen if people then turn around and say that I'm profiting from the country during this state of emergency. If the story spread through word of mouth, my reputation would be finished!," one unnamed leader of a major gang told Tomohiko Suzuki, a writer and noted organized crime expert.

Another long-established yakuza boss told Suzuki. "We have caused society enough trouble in normal times. It is unacceptable that we be a burden on the country when it's in difficulty. We also pass this message to the youngsters."

The crime leader said that his gang is considering its own financial aid scheme to help younger people weather the economic storm without accepting the government handout.

We have caused society enough trouble in normal times.

"I was always very busy looking for money when I was young," said yet another gangster. "And yes, there must be people who can't help but take the government's money. But if I were to receive it, I'd drive a nail into myself!"

Suzuki says that as of 2018, Japan's organized underworld has more than 30,000 registered members, and that if they all applied for government relief, they alone would cost the country more than 3 billion yen ($28 million). Let's also hope they're all wearing their masks.



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Geopolitics

REvil Bust: Is Russian Cybercrime Crackdown Just A Decoy From Ukraine?

This weekend’s unprecedented operation to dismantle the cybercriminal REvil network in Russia was carried out on a request and information from Washington. Occurring just as the two countries face off over the Russian threat to invade Ukraine raises more questions than it answers.

Kyiv blamed Russia for another cyber-attack that knocked out key Ukrainian government websites last week

Cameron Manley

The world’s attention was gripped last week by the rising risk of war at the Russia-Ukraine border, and what some have called the worst breakdown in relations between Moscow and Washington since the end of the Cold War. Yet by the end of the week, another major story was unfolding more quietly across Russia that may shed light on the high-stakes geopolitical maneuvering.

By Friday night, Russian security forces had raided 25 addresses in St. Petersburg, Moscow and several other regions south of the capital in an operation to dismantle the notorious REvil group, accused of some of the worst cyberattacks in recent years to hit targets in the U.S. and elsewhere in the West.

And by Saturday, Russian online media Interfax was reporting that the FSB Russian intelligence services revealed that it had in fact been the U.S. authorities who had informed Russia "about the leaders of the criminal community and their involvement in attacks on the information resources of foreign high-tech companies.”

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