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Tokyo ward to set up hotline accepting calls from possible fraud perpetrators

Setagaya Ward Mayor Nobuto Hosaka holds a sign written exclusive numbers for those who involved in special fraud and victims at the Setagaya Ward Office in Tokyo's Setagaya Ward, on Oct. 24, 2018. (Mainichi/ Masaki Takahashi)

TOKYO -- The Setagaya Ward Office in Tokyo will set up a hotline accepting calls from possible perpetrators of fraud as a measure to prevent minors from becoming involved in such crimes, the ward's mayor announced on Oct. 24.

Mayor Norito Hosaka announced the ward office would launch the hotline from Nov. 1 as a measure against so-called "special fraud," the collective name for several types of fraud including telephone fraud in which the scammers impersonate the victim's family members or pose as financial workers.

"The number of minors who involved in crime has been increasing," Hosaka during a news conference in giving a reason for the rare move of launching such a line.

The line, which can be reached on (03) 5432-2178, will accept calls from people such as those who are sent to collect scammed money -- known in Japanese as "ukeko." The line will operate in tandem with a hotline for victims of special fraud on 03-5432-2121. (Both services are provided only in Japanese.)

Hosaka also announced the ward is set to review its practice of providing lists of elderly people to police as a fraud countermeasure. He said that a number of assembly members had pointed out that the ward office should be careful in its handling of the name lists, which constitute personal information.

"We will review the practice based on issues pointed out by the media and the ward assembly, along with suggestions from organizations," he said.

The mayor did not name any specific revisions, simply saying, "The issue is under consideration. We want to do our best."

(Japanese original by Masaki Takahashi, Tokyo Bureau)

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