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Comment Not surprising (Score 5, Interesting) 138

This is actually par for the course when it comes to Japanese organized crime syndicates. The Yakuza have always been quick responders to natural disasters and their cleanup efforts. Japanese criminal syndicates aren't entirely illicit operations and run a lot of legitimate businesses as well, and are heavily involved in the construction industry in particular. Being generally faster and more efficient than the bureaucracy-laden government, (and not restricted by those silly "laws") whenever there's a major natural disaster, the Yakuza have always been some of the first on the scene to distribute food and medical supplies, and do cleanup and reconstruction for really low rates. They gain goodwill in the community and an opportunity to expand their power base, and the government saves money and hassle in the cleanup effort. Heck, half of Kobe was rebuilt by Yakuza after the great Hanshin quake. The whole thing is an open secret really.

That they're doing this now is really to be expected, and not as alarming or terrible as the article would seem to suggest. This has been going on with criminal groups in Japan for generations, and isn't likely to stop any time soon.

Comment Re:These lists are good, but.. (Score 1) 162

Most of the cold-calling charities are totally bogus anyway, and only charities in the loosest sense of the word. I keep getting harassed by the local Chiefs of Police Association and when I checked online on a charity watch site I saw something like 79% of their money goes to fundraising, 15% to administrative, and like 6% to actual charity work. Combine that with the audacity to once claim that I had made a prior commitment to give them money and an abject refusal to remove me from their list they're every bit as bad as people selling you garbage if not worse IMO. The "it's OK to call if you have a prior business relationship" clause needs to go too I think. Just because I use Verizon for my cell phone doesn't give you the right to attempt to sell me your stupid DSL over the phone every day.

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