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The number of people under age 18 who fell victim to kidnapping through the use of social media in Japan in 2021 rose by 11 from the previous year to a record 86, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The increase in children who were under duress due to intimidation or bribery apparently reflects a rise in the number of cases involving runaway girls. As part of countermeasures, police are issuing warnings over inappropriate social media posts, such as those aimed at luring runaways.

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