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Thousands of consumers are complaining that sales agents for Japan Telecom Co. are lying to them in order to get contracts for the company’s new fixed-line phone service, sources said Wednesday.

According to the complaints filed with NTT and the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, Japan Telecom agents are falsely telling consumers that their firm has merged with NTT Corp. or that they were commissioned by NTT, the nation’s largest telecom service operator.

The false statements were apparently made to get consumers to switch from NTT to Japan Telecom, the sources said.

Japan Telecom, a unit of Internet investor Softbank Corp., launched the new phone service in December.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has summoned Japan Telecom officials to their office several times and ordered them to clarify the facts about the new service and NTT, they said.

NTT West Corp., one of NTT’s two regional service operators, sent a letter of protest under the name of its president, Shunzo Morishita, in January to Japan Telecom President Hideki Kurashige.

Japan Telecom said it has yet to fully investigate the complaints but added that it wants to thoroughly train its agents and plans to terminate contracts with them if they have been deceiving customers.

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