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Suginami Ward, Tokyo, will compile rules on setting up and operating surveillance cameras in the streets to protect privacy, ward officials said Monday.

It will hold a meeting of legal experts and police officers next month with the aim of issuing a bylaw, the first of its kind in Japan, on camera operation by January, they said.

The regulations would apply not only to cameras set up by the private sector but also those operated by police, according to the officials.

The number of surveillance cameras is increasing in light of an escalation in serious crime, but there are no regulations on where they can be set up or how they can be used.

“The absence of rules on surveillance cameras actually is detrimental to their utilization,” Suginami Mayor Hiroshi Yamada told a news conference.

The ward did not join Japan’s national resident registry network at its launch last August, citing risks to privacy, although it has recently decided to allow residents to be included in the national system at their choosing.

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