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.
The Diet, Japan's parliament, on Thursday enacted revisions to the My Number law to link the new national identification numbers to bank accounts on a voluntary basis from 2018 and to basic pension numbers by May 2017. (Jiji Press)
Japan's government and ruling camp are considering unifying liquor tax rates on beer and quasi-beer that now depend on the amount of malt the beverages contain, informed sources said Thursday. (Jiji Press)
The North Pacific Fisheries Commission on Thursday agreed to take steps to curb an increase in saury fishing boats to help protect fish stock in northern Pacific waters over the long term. (Jiji Press)
The town of Taiji in Wakayama Prefecture began its controversial dolphin hunt on Thursday after bad weather delayed the start, according to a local fisheries official, while a separate whaling hunt is due to start at the weekend. (Japan Today)
Police charged 689 people in January-June for the possession, smuggling and use of government-designated "dangerous" drugs, or quasi-narcotics, and related crimes and accidents, the National Police Agency said Thursday. (The Japan News)
Police investigating the murder of a 25-year-old woman in her apartment in Tokyo's Nakano Ward last week, said pieces of a man's skin were found under her fingernails. However, police said a DNA analysis was unable to match it with any of the victim's male acquaintances, Fuji TV reported Thursday. (Japan Today)
Osaka Prefectural Police on Wednesday announced the arrest of a 20-year-old university student for the theft of two sports cars, one of which was used at a racing circuit, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Sep. 3). (Tokyo Reporter)
After a week of speculation, law enforcement said on Tuesday that Japan's largest crime syndicate has chosen to expel 13 affiliate groups, a move that essentially results in the dissolution of the gang, reports the Kobe Shimbun (Sep. 1). (Tokyo Reporter)
Chiba Prefectural Police on Wednesday busted a hostess club in Chiba City for licensing violations, with the business being a source of revenue for organized crime, reports TBS News (Sep. 2). (Tokyo Reporter)