Two NTT employees were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of helping members of a leftist extremist group illegally obtain information on members of a rival faction, police officials said.

The suspects — Sakae Igarashi, 42, of NTT East and Takeshi Yamamoto, 39, of NTT Mobile Communications Network (NTT DoCoMo) — acted on the instruction of extremists belonging to the Kakumaru-ha, a leftist group, according to the Metropolitan Police Department.

Later in the day, police investigators searched for evidence at the NTT offices where the suspects worked. The MPD suspects several other NTT group employees may have been involved in the information theft.

Igarashi and Yamamoto are suspected of illegally obtaining and handing to Kakumaru-ha the names of members of the group’s rival, and the locations of their telephones and telephone records. The rival group was not identified.

They used computer terminals at their offices in December 1997 to make printouts of data on more than 10 clients, the officials said.

MPD investigators seized the printouts during a raid on a Kakumaru-ha hideout in Tokyo’s Nerima Ward in January 1998. They later found out that Yamamoto had met on many occasions with a Kakumaru-ha member who was frequently seen visiting the hideout.

The investigators are trying to identify the Kakumaru-ha members who instructed the NTT employees to collect the information.

The MPD suspects Kakumaru-ha was wiretapping the telephone at the headquarters of its rival group, and asked the NTT employees to find out the names of owners of telephones whose numbers were overheard during the eavesdropping.

Yamamoto was a senior worker at an operation center of NTT DoCoMo, while Igarashi was working at the fee collection counter at NTT’s Tokyo branch. They both belonged to the now-defunct Japanese National Railways until April 1987, and joined NTT in 1988.

After the arrest of the two, the Kakumaru-ha faction sent a statement to the press, denying its involvement and saying that the case is fiction created by police authorities.

One arrested over Dial Q2 kickbacks

OSAKA — A former employee of NTT West was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of receiving money from so-called Dial Q2 service companies as a reward for passing on NTT customer information such as names, addresses and phone numbers of subscribers, police said.

The former employee, 44-year-old Kenichi Uchida, allegedly leaked private information about several thousand NTT customers between August 1998 and April this year while he was working at an Osaka office of the telecom giant.

In addition to Uchida, Osaka police also arrested Motokazu Takayama, 34, and Kosei Murai, 31, operators of two Dial Q2 service firms. Dial Q2 services are often used for telephone dating.

The arrest warrants directly cover the several hundred items of personal data leaked by Uchida in January this year. He is believed to have received several hundred thousand yen in return, according to investigators.

NTT West detected the information leak in an internal probe, and has so far dismissed 10 employees and punished 20 others over their suspected involvement. Uchida was fired on Oct. 4.

Under the NTT law, workers of the NTT group are considered to have a status close to that of civil servants and can be subject to bribery charges if they receive money as a reward for leaking customer information that is only accessible by the workers.

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