• Kyodo


Aichi Prefectural Police arrested two men Tuesday for allegedly placing obscene images on an Internet home page.

The case is remarkable because the images were of such a size that they were capable of being accessed through the i-mode cellular phone service.

Investigators said it was the first time anyone in Japan has been arrested for placing obscene images on an i-mode-accessible Web site. i-mode phones can only view Internet sites with limited data.

The men were identified as Yoshimasa Tanabe, 36, of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, and Kazuo Togo, 31, of Kobayashi, Miyazaki Prefecture.

The police said Tanabe and Togo were not acquainted and that investigators found the images as a result of unrelated efforts.

Police suspect the two men separately placed obscene images on their individual Web sites — Tanabe on Aug. 16 and Togo on Sept. 13 — for public viewing.

i-mode is an Internet access service started by mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo Inc. in February. As of Sept. 10, it had some 11.65 million subscribers.

Police said Tanabe began selling lingerie on his Web site in June. His business expanded to include pornographic videos, and he earned roughly 220,000 yen in sales.

According to DoCoMo officials, the contents of official i-mode sites are screened by the firm, making it impossible for obscene images to be placed on the site.

However, the firm has no way of verifying the contents of unofficial sites accessible by the i-mode service.

Arrests in fake art case

TOTTORI (Kyodo) An art dealer and his wife were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of fraud for allegedly using a Web site to sell fake works of art.

The arrested couple were named as Hirofumi Miyoshi, 39, and his wife, Junko, 43, of the city of Tottori.

Police said the pair placed an advertisement on the home page of their art shop, Kofudo, falsely claiming genuine works of art were for sale.

Last December, a woman from Miyagi Prefecture visited the shop after seeing the Web site and bought three paintings by Japanese artists Shinsui Ito, Kiyokata Kaburagi and Yumeji Takehisa, thinking they were genuine.

She paid 5 million yen for the three works, and notified police after later realizing that they were fakes.

Both Ito and Kaburagi are renowned Japanese painters of the modern era and their more critically acclaimed works would sell for about 50 million yen, according to art experts.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.