• Kyodo

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The National Police Agency will tell police forces nationwide this month to launch sting operations by posing as customers for minors selling sex or used underwear online, an NPA source said.

Undercover officers would arrange only to meet children engaged in such activities in person, and identify themselves before taking suspects into custody, the source said. The minors would then be handed over to their parents after being reprimanded.

Police in Shizuoka Prefecture have been carrying out this kind of operation since July 2009 and had caught 58 minors as of August, while forces in nine other prefectures, including Tokyo, Kanagawa and Osaka, started such stings in April on an experimental basis.

The source said the NPA thinks it’s time to go nationwide to prevent minors from soliciting money for sex or used underwear or making other “inappropriate” offers online, according to the source.

As smartphones grow more common, Internet communications to arrange such crimes are more likely to go unnoticed by parents, the source said.

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