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A former “sokaiya” corporate racketeer was arrested June 24 in Tokyo over an alleged extortion attempt that involved an insurance company and magazine subscriptions.

According to the Metropolitan Police Department, Noboru Aoki, 47, attempted to extort cash on several occasions last May from the major nonlife insurance firm because it stopped its subscription to a magazine published by Aoki’s political group at the end of March. Aoki’s political group publishes Kokusei Shimpo (National Politics News Gazette), a small circulation monthly. The insurance company, based in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, had been a subscriber since 1976.

Aoki allegedly demanded that the company continue its subscription. He reportedly told the insurer: “We are talking, if you only ask me to lower the subscription fee. If you cancel, I would fight till the end.”

The subscription fee was set at 210,000 yen annually. The insurance firm decided to cancel the subscription when the sokaiya scandal involving Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and Nomura Securities Co. broke. Police said Aoki had been an active sokaiya until 1988.

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