• Kyodo

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The National Police Agency will conduct a survey of teenagers who have been coerced into sending nude pictures of themselves to strangers online, sources said Saturday.

The survey, expected to be launched by next March, will cover some 500 youths, mostly girls under the age of 18 who have been coerced or tricked into sending nude selfies by men they typically met on social media, the sources said.

The victims will be asked in detail about why they sent such images, often via smartphone, as well as whether they were aware of the risks involved in doing so, the sources added.

According to the agency, at least 594 teenagers and children were victims in child pornography cases detected by the police nationwide between January and June this year.

The largest single group of 263, or 44.3 percent, were coerced or tricked into sending nude selfies.

In many cases, the perpetrators passed themselves off as girls of around the same age as the victims, and exchanged messages with them to get to know potentially embarrassing details about them before demanding they send nude photos, agency officials said.

In Japan, possessing pornographic images of children is punishable by a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to ¥1 million ($8,877).

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