East Japan Railway Co. this month began selling records of the use of Suica cards--without notifying the cardholders of the sale, it has been learned.
JR East issues the cards, which are pre-paid e-money cards that can double as commuter passes. The cards are used by about 43 million bus and train commuters primarily in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Although JR East says the records are being sold without revealing cardholders' names to a private company for market research purposes, it failed to provide prior notice of such sales to cardholders.
The Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry has launched an investigation to see if the sales constitute a violation of the Personal Information Protection Law, while warning the railway operator that it should have notified cardholders of the sale of such information to a third party.
Hitachi, Ltd., which is buying the data from JR East, is selling analyzed data for market research purposes, such as each station's traffic level and the types of passengers using them. The analyzed data is estimated to bring in annual sales of at least 5 million yen, according to Hitachi.
Health minister Yasuhisa Shiozaki said Tuesday his ministry has strengthened anti-Ebola measures by obliging travelers arriving from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to report on their health conditions, even if they have had no contact with people infected with the deadly disease. (Kyodo)
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is to begin dismantling the cover of a reactor building to remove debris as preparation for taking out nuclear fuel from a spent fuel storage pool. (NHK)
The Japanese government said Tuesday it will settle a damages lawsuit with former workers at factories using asbestos in Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, that was sent back by the Supreme Court after their defeat at a lower court. (Jiji Press)
In possibly a legal first, a female civil servant on Tuesday sued the government over what she calls institutional sexism at the ministry she works for, citing almost two decades of blocked promotions and pay raises. (Japan Times)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Friday arrested two male suspects for allegedly dumping a large quantity of adult video (AV) material inside a park in Nishinari Ward, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Oct. 17). (Tokyo Reporter)
Empress Michiko celebrated her 80th birthday on Monday. In a statement distributed to media by the Imperial Household Agency, the empress said she hoped the world could find peace ahead of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II next year. (Japan Today)