• Kyodo

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Direct sales firm Japanet Takata Co. said Tuesday that personal data relating to about 150 of its customers has been leaked, adding that the leakage may extend to data on all 660,000 customers the company had at the time.

The company, based in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, said the data may have been stolen and is considering filing a criminal complaint.

The leaked data was compiled in 1998, and the company suspects the leakage may have occurred that year.

The company has confirmed the leakage of data on around 150 customers. The information in question includes the names, addresses, telephone numbers and birth dates of the customers.

Japanet Takata said it had data on 660,000 customers in 1998, and fears that data on all those customers may have been taken.

Company President Akira Takata apologized over the data leak during a news conference at the firm’s head office.

“We are very sorry for having caused great trouble to our customers,” he said.

Takata said the company will halt sales conducted via television and radio for the time being, although it will continue taking orders on its Web site.

The company said all customer data was kept in a computer system at the head office, and that only a limited number of employees knew the necessary access codes.

The firm was alerted to the leak after receiving a data inquiry from an outside source. It confirmed the data in question matched that in its database.

Japanet Takata was established in 1986, starting out as a camera store. In 1990, it launched its direct sales operation, primarily using catalogs and fliers in newspapers.

In the business year to Dec. 31, it chalked up 70.54 billion yen in sales.

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