• Kyodo

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Four men were arrested Tuesday for allegedly scamming several women out of large amounts of money by feigning romantic interest online.

The men approached a number of women living in Fukuoka Prefecture last year via social media and pretended to be foreign military servicemen needing money, investigative sources said.

The men sent messages saying they wanted to meet the women and that they needed financial support such as paying for an airline ticket to visit Japan or to leave the military.

One woman in her 50s was cheated out of about ¥6 million, the sources said.

Investigators searched a building in Yoshikawa, Saitama Prefecture, that is suspected of being the group’s headquarters, according to the sources.

The group is believed to be active in a number of eastern prefectures in the nation, and a man suspected of being the group’s leader lives in Chiba Prefecture, the sources said.

“International romance scams” are on the rise in Japan. Con artists manipulate women in various ways, such as by showing them photos of unrelated men.

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