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A Japan-based affiliate of British telecommunications giant Cable & Wireless PLC has asked the Fair Trade Commission to probe sales practices by Japan’s dominant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone group over the Myline service for registering preferred carriers.

Officials of Cable and Wireless IDC Inc. said salespeople for NTT East Corp., NTT West Corp. and NTT Communications Corp. are telling telephone users they may have trouble getting telephone line repairs if they register with a non-NTT carrier.

Cable & Wireless IDC has already filed a similar complaint with the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry and with an industry organization.

New carrier KDDI has also filed a complaint against the alleged NTT sales tactics with the industry organization.

The Myline service, under which users will be able to connect to their preferred carrier without dialing a prefix, is scheduled to be launched on May 1.

Three held over leak

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) A 37-year-old employee of NTT East Corp. was arrested Saturday for allegedly selling customer information, police said.

Kenji Kumagai, currently employed at NTT East’s Gunma branch, allegedly retrieved records on some 7,500 individuals from the firm’s computer and sold them to brokers between 1995 and 1999, police said.

The arrest was made over an allegation that he received 200,000 yen in late December for information he leaked between July and December 1998, when he was working at NTT’s Nakayama branch in Yokohama.

Also Saturday, police arrested 44-year-old broker Hiroomi Ota and his acquaintance Hiromi Sakurai, 37, for allegedly bribing Kumagai. All three admitted to the charges, police said. Further charges may be forthcoming as police believe Kumagai has been engaged in the practice for a long period of time. They said there have been other suspicious payments made into Kumagai’s bank account.

Kumagai was quoted as telling police he used the money to gamble and to repay debts. He said he stopped selling information after moving to the Gunma branch in April 1999.

He came in contact with Sakurai through a “Dial Q2” telephone dating service around 1990. She then introduced him to Ota, who was allegedly selling customer information to Dial Q2 service providers. The information, which includes customer addresses and the location of their phones, was used to collect outstanding service fees, police said.

NTT East, which uncovered Kumagai’s alleged acts during an internal investigation, asked police to investigate the case in November. The company punished him by cutting his salary.

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