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Police took a record 18,160 juveniles into custody at karaoke parlors nationwide last year for illicit behavior such as smoking, extortion and staying out past their bedtime.

The National Police Agency said Thursday in a report that it is trying to prevent juvenile delinquency by helping the karaoke industry association enforce its own guidelines, such as not allowing people under 18 to be in karaoke parlors after 10 p.m.

It is the first time for the agency to make the statistics public since it began compiling such figures in 1993.

Although the association conducts workshops to inform karaoke parlors of the restrictions, only 20 percent of such establishments have attended the workshops, the NPA said.

It said the number of juveniles taken into custody at karaoke establishments in 2003 increased by 893 from the previous year. Nearly 80 percent of the detentions were due to smoking, the NPA said. Other reasons included drinking and staying out late at night.

High school students accounted for 60 percent of the juveniles detained, and 10 percent were junior high school students. Ten elementary school children were also detained, it said.

There were 82 criminal cases involving juveniles at karaoke parlors, down 19 from 2002, and the number of juveniles detained in these cases was 144, down 55. The incidents included 22 cases of assault, nine of theft, six of robbery and five of extortion.

As of the end of 2003, there were 8,114 karaoke parlors in Japan, down 583 from 2002.

Taxi-crime crackdown

The National Police Agency said Thursday it has compiled guidelines to handle a surge in taxi-related crimes.

The NPA said it has asked the taxi industry to take measures based on the guidelines. Prefectural police forces have also been told to instruct taxi operators and drivers about the measures.

According to the latest NPA statistics, the number of taxi robbery cases in 2003 rose about 30 percent from the previous year to 226.

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