• Kyodo, Staff Report


Letters that try to extort recipients for money have been sent to the homes of more than 2,000 teachers and other staff at elementary and junior high schools around the nation, it was learned Thursday.

The identical letters, whose sender is unknown, are all postmarked from the city of Tokushima and say the addressees have humiliated their pupils. They say the sender has been asked by the families of the victimized pupils to retaliate against the school officials, demanding a payment of ¥3 million.

The letters demand the money be sent to a woman who lives in Thailand, specifying an address there.

The education ministry has notified local boards of education about the letter and urged the recipients and their families not to respond.

The boards of education are also consulting police, suspecting directories of school staff might have leaked to the perpetrators.

While copies of the same letter have been mailed to the homes of teachers and other school officials in 45 prefectures, schoolteachers in Chiba Prefecture seem to be the biggest target, with 523 of them receiving the letter. Teachers and officials in Saitama and Oita follow, with 338 and 160.

An official of the Chiba Prefectural Government suspects the directories that the perpetrators used are old, because the addressees include the deceased and the retired.

Meanwhile, the Thai woman named in the letter as the recipient of the money has denied involvement in the apparent scam, the Asahi News Network reported Friday morning.

The woman said a Japanese male acquaintance asked her to let him use her address about two months ago, according to ANN. The man said the address would be used to receive resumes from Japan, asking her to forward the resumes to another address in Hong Kong, the network reported.

So far, no mail has been received from Japan, the woman said, noting that she knows nothing more about the letter.

The Japanese man who made the request to the Thai woman has meanwhile said he has been asked by someone else — a woman who appears to be Japanese — to find an address in Thailand so the resumes can be sent, as she is looking to hire somebody in Bangkok, ANN reported.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.