• Kyodo

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Police last year intercepted telecommunications during investigations of 10 cases, leading to 72 arrests, the Justice Ministry said Friday.

In all, police sought 26 court orders under a communications intercept law that took effect in 2000 and all requests were granted, the ministry said.

The arrests were made in seven cases related to alleged smuggling and trafficking of illegal drugs. The three other arrests concerned suspected violations of the Firearm and Sword Control Law, the ministry said.

The wiretap law enables courts to approve requests to eavesdrop on phone calls, tap faxes or intercept email. All intercepts in 2014 were of mobile phones, the ministry said.

A total of 525 people have been arrested in 99 cases since the law took force in August 2000, the ministry said.

The law limits wiretapping targets to four types of crimes — drugs, firearms, organized murder and human trafficking. The Justice Ministry plans to introduce an amendment to the Diet to add nine other categories, including regular murder, arson and fraud.

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