Japan Outraged Over Crimes

Tina Reilly
TOKYO – Internet-inspired rape cases are on the rise among Japan's youth and stand a good chance of outpacing murder and kidnapping cases if statistics maintain their steady climb, says the National Police Agency (NPA).

Cyber rape in Japan has never been so prevalent, sources say, and its victims are typically young schoolgirls who get lured into sex chat sites and then tracked down by rapists and robberers.

According to the NPA, a law banning the solicitation of sex from minors over the Internet has had little effect on the increasing numbers of young girls and children who are being victimized by cyber stalkers. Although in some cases, the girls have been willing participants in cyber sex for cash.

Japan's fairly new cyber law went into effect in September 2003 and poses stiff penalties of up to $9,500 (U.S), or six months in jail, for adults who post chat messages soliciting sex with minors. If minors violate the law, which in many cases they do, future online activity is heavily monitored by police agents.

Statistics state that there has been a 38.5 percent uptick from the previous year in the number of cyber sex crimes committed against children. Among the 1,278 child victims, more than 80 percent were girls, says the NPA, and ranged from high school to junior high school students. Among the list of victims were at least four girls in elementary school.

Online dating crimes in Japan have also seen an upsurge of 15 percent, climbing to 1,746 reported cases from the previous year, and cyber-based robbery cases took a 54.2 percent leap from the previous year.

In the majority of all cyber sex and cyber crime cases, the NRA reports, 95 percent of the victims accessed the Internet via mobile phones.