• Kyodo News

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Police across Japan uncovered 6,321 cases of Internet-related crime last year, and increase of 15.5 percent and the highest number since comparable data were first kept in 2000, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The figure represented a threefold jump from 2,081 cases recorded in 2004.

There were 112 cases of threats made over the Internet in 2008, up 53 from the preceding year, the NPA said. In one instance, a woman was referred to prosecutors in connection with posts she made on an entertainer’s blog. The comedian was forced to close his blog due to a flood of abusive messages from other Net users.

There were 61 libel cases involving the Net, down 18. However, police received a record 11,516 requests from the public to look into potential libel cases, up 29.8 percent.

Police unearthed 1,740 cases of illegal access involving the use of stolen passwords, up 20.7 percent. The cases involved 137 people, up 11.

Fraud cases mainly involving Internet auctions inched down 0.3 percent to 1,508.

Offenses against a law restricting Net-based dating services jumped threefold to 367, while offenses against an ordinance aimed at protecting youths soared 90.0 percent to 437.

Police across the nation were asked by the public to check up on 81,994 potential cybercrimes in 2008, up 12.0 percent.

An NPA official said the agency will step up its efforts to crack down on cybercrime by boosting its investigative ability in light of increasing offenses using the Internet.

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