Yakuza end up with 35 million yen in disaster aid

Four yakuza members have been arrested amid revelations that at least 260 gangsters received 35 million yen $450,000 in government assistance intended for victims of the Great East Japan Earthquake.

Social welfare councils are demanding that about 170 gangsters in Fukushima Prefecture and 89 gangsters in Miyagi Prefecture pay back the funds. The four arrested gang members are suspected of fraud.

However, the number of illicit recipients is likely to increase because police have investigated only about one-fourth of the 40,000 payments made in Miyagi Prefecture.

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7.1 aftershock rattles disaster-weary Japan

A big aftershock rocked quake-weary Japan late Thursday, rattling nerves as it knocked out power to the northern part of the country and prompted tsunami warnings that were later canceled.

The quake was initially measured at magnitude-7.4, though the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., later downgraded it to 7.1. Either way, it was the strongest aftershock since several were recorded on March 11 — the day of the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami that killed as many as 25,000 people and touched off a nuclear crisis last month.

There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or major damage, and the operator of the tsunami-ravaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant said there was no sign the aftershock had caused new problems there. Workers retreated to a quake-resistant shelter in the complex, with no injuries.

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