Chinese military aircraft increasingly aggressive according to Japan

Defence officials in Tokyo told the Asahi newspaper that in addition to the harassment of Japanese aircraft, China has stepped up its probing of air defences in the region and the monitoring of military exercises involving units from the United States and Japan.

In the last nine months, Japanese fighters have been scrambled to intercept Chinese intruders on 44 occasions, the highest figure in the last five years and more than double the number for the whole of fiscal 2006, the defence ministry officials said.

In another deviation from their previous behaviour, the Chinese aircraft are not turning home as soon as they realise they have been detected but are continuing on their courses until they make visual contact with Japanese interceptors.

Chinese reconnaissance aircraft are also increasingly entering Japan’s Air Defence Identification Zone. Although this is not a breach of territorial airspace, it does inevitably lead to interceptors being scrambled.

Read the rest of the story:Chinese military aircraft more aggressive since September, Japan claims.

No. 2 man at Japan’s largest crime syndicate arrested in Kyoto

A gangster ranked second-in-command to the imprisoned boss of Japan’s largest crime syndicate, the Yamaguchi-gumi, was arrested Thursday for allegedly extorting some 40 million yen from a man in Kyoto from the end of 2005 to 2006, Kyoto prefectural police said.

The arrest of Kiyoshi Takayama, a 63-year-old resident of Kobe, came amid an enhanced clampdown by Japanese police forces against the Kodokai gang, a dominant force in the Yamaguchi-gumi led by Takayama, before the release next spring of syndicate boss Kenichi Shinoda.

Takayama ranks next to Shinoda, known in the underworld as Shinobu, who became the sixth boss of the Yamaguchi-gumi in July 2005 and was jailed in December that year in Osaka for violating the gun control law. Shinoda hails from the Nagoya-based Kodokai.

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Pirates hijack Japanese ship off coast of Kenya

Somali pirates hijacked a Japanese-operated cargo ship off the coast of Kenya, the only successful seizure in a weekend of a dozen attempts, a maritime official said on Monday.

The Izumi, operated by NYK-Hinode Line Ltd, was carrying a 20-strong crew from the Philippines, the Japanese transport ministry said in Tokyo. The 14,000 tonne Panama-flagged ship was en route to Mombasa carrying a cargo of steel, the operator said in a statement.

The ministry said it lost touch with the ship on Sunday, while Ecoterra, an advocacy group that monitors piracy off the east African coast, said the ship was seized in Somali waters, quoting NATO officials.

Andrew Mwangura of the Kenya-based East African Seafarers Association said the ship was seized in the early hours of Monday and it may take a few days to get to the pirate lair of Hobyo in Somalia.

Read the rest of the story: Pirates hijack Japan-operated ship off Kenya.