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.
Ending radioactive water leaks along with groundwater and ocean contamination at the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan may take more than five years, according to a report by a government advisory body. (Bloomberg )
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Monday defended as "necessary" an unpopular secrets law that he rushed through parliament, as a new poll showed his support rating had plunged 10 percent in a month. (AFP )
A 43-year-old woman and other six boys and girls aged 14 to 18 years have been arrested by police in the western Japanese prefecture of Hyogo in connection with the abuse of a 15-year-old junior high school student, local press reported on Tuesday. (Global Times )
Singaporean chef Li Kwok Wing has trumped nine other chefs from around the world to clinch the gold medal in the finals of the inaugural Washoku World Challenge held in Tokyo on Sunday. (Straits Times )
Tokyo Metropolitan Police in November announced the bust of a studio for allowing photography of school girls in seductive poses. According to Shukan Jitsuwa (Dec. 19), the trade in illicit private photography is varied, with office ladies among those in the biz. (Tokyo Reporter)
Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday they have arrested four individuals in Ebina, in connection with a robbery case in which a pregnant woman on her way home was struck in the face and robbed of approximately 100,000 yen in cash. (Japan Today )