• Kyodo News

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The number of tipoffs received by a Net hotline center on harmful Web sites soared nearly 60 percent in 2008, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The Internet Hotline Center received 135,126 reports on Web sites containing allegedly harmful information, marking a 59.0 percent jump from the previous year, the NPA said.

Of the total tipoffs received in the reporting year, 14,211 cases involved illegal pornography or drugs, up 10.9 percent, the NPA said. The Tokyo-based hotline center reported 8,221 of these cases to police.

There were 6,122 tipoffs on information that may lead to crimes or suicide, up 70.1 percent. Among such information was how to make hydrogen sulfide, a poisonous gas.

The center asked Internet service providers to close 8,674 Web sites and 7,164, or about 80 percent, were shut down, the NPA said.

An NPA official said the agency will continue to seek out harmful Net sites and ask providers to take them down.

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