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Nikkei employee accused of hacking deleted personal data on over 100 celebrities

A 29-year-old employee of the Nikkei business daily, arrested on Nov. 30 for allegedly making unauthorized access to the e-mail accounts of celebrities, deleted personal data such as phone numbers of more than 100 actresses and models from his mobile phone immediately after another man was arrested over a similar incident in May, it has been learned.

Investigators suspect that Jun Terai, an employee at Nikkei's digital media department, tried to destroy evidence as he deleted the personal information immediately after media outlets reported the similar incident in May.

Terai was arrested on Nov. 30 on suspicion of illegally accessing the server of popular model Moe Oshikiri's mobile phone, reading her emails and so on. He is also accused of hacking the Apple iCloud accounts of former all-girl pop unit NMB48 member Miyuki Watanabe and two other women between October 2015 and April this year. Investigative sources said he has admitted to the allegations, saying that he enjoyed cracking passwords and was accessing other people's internet accounts as a game.

When investigators analyzed Terai's mobile phone before arresting him, they found that he had previously saved telephone numbers and email addresses of more than 100 women including famous actresses and models in his handset. Another man was arrested in May this year on suspicion of illegally accessing Facebook accounts of actress Masami Nagasawa and others and reading their messages. Investigators found out that immediately after newspapers and TV stations broke news on the earlier incident, Terai deleted the phone numbers and email addresses of more than 100 celebrities.

When Terai was questioned by police on a voluntary basis, he was quoted as telling investigators, "When I saw the media report, I thought I would be in trouble and deleted the data saved in my mobile phone." The investigators are set to look into how Terai obtained the women's mobile phone numbers and email addresses.

Nikkei Inc. said in a statement, "We recognize that the arrested employee has not used personal information held by our company of our customers in committing the crimes. As soon as we confirm the facts, we will strictly punish him."

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