86 children abducted in Japan last year through use of social media

The number of people under the age of 18 who were abducted through the use of social media in Japan in 2021 rose by 11 from the previous year to a record 86, the government said on Thursday. National Police Agency.

The increase in the number of children being bullied or corrupted apparently reflects an increase in the number of cases involving runaways. As part of the countermeasures, police are issuing warnings about inappropriate social media posts, such as those aimed at luring runaways.

Some girls who ran away from home tended to use social media to look for accommodation. Adults attempting to bait these minors could be charged with kidnapping a minor even if the child had given consent.

According to the NPA, the number of children who fell prey to social media-related abductions stood at two in 2012, 21 in 2017 and 75 in 2020. The recent increase is believed to reflect the increase in use of smartphones.

In 2020, the Aichi Prefectural Police Department began issuing warnings about suspicious Twitter posts, such as one saying, “Contact me if you have any trouble after fleeing your home.” Aichi police also caution children to deter them from committing crimes.

The NPA plans to extend these countermeasures to police departments across the country.

The total number of people aged 17 or younger who were victims of social media-related crimes in 2021 stood at 1,812, almost unchanged from the previous year, according to the agency. Among them, 937 were secondary school students, 718 junior high school students and 83 primary school students.

Of the total, those who suffered indecent acts that violated juvenile protection orders numbered 665, and the number of those who were victims of child pornography, for example by sending nude photos of themselves- same, amounted to 657.

There were two murder victims and 34 forced sex victims.

The NPA will take steps such as encouraging social media operators to voluntarily remove inappropriate posts.

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