Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)–The number of people under 18 who fell victim to social media-linked sexual and other crimes in Japan in 2019 rose 271 from the previous year to a record 2,082, government data showed Thursday.
The National Police Agency data said the number of child pornography victims increased 283 to 1,559, also a record high.
The NPA is calling on social networking website operators to take action while strengthening efforts to raise public awareness of crimes against children.
The social media-linked crime victims included 1,044 high school students, up 53, while the number of victims among junior high school students climbed a steeper 223 to 847, reflecting the growing use of smartphones among them. The number of victims among elementary school children rose 17 to 72.
By crime type, 844 victims under 18 suffered indecent sexual acts that violated juvenile protection ordinances. There were 49 victims of forced sexual intercourse and 46 kidnapping victims.
Many victims encountered social media-linked crimes through smartphones. Only 13.5 pct of them were using smartphones on which functions to block harmful websites were enabled.
By website or smartphone app, 807 were Twitter users, 307 were users of “Himabu,” a student-only social networking website that was closed late last year, 120 were Instagram users, and 81 were Line users.
Meanwhile, the child pornography victims included a record 584 victims in porn selfie cases. About 90 pct of the selfie victims were junior and senior high school students, while elementary school kids numbered 41.