Japanese Authorities To Clampdown On Matchmaking Sites

Operators of online matchmaking sites will soon be legally obligated to register with public safety authorities and immediately remove any posts that could incite juvenile crime.

National Police Agency officials are drafting changes to the law regulating matchmaking sites that will allow them to keep tighter control over the sites for lonely hearts that have often been used as fronts for such illegal activities as prostitution.

Crimefighters hope to have their proposed revisions put before the Diet by March.

NPA officials say the existing law regulating matchmaking sites contains no way for them to be able to determine who is actually running them and they are dependent on cooperation from providers and server operators to try and obtain that information. Cops say there are many cases where they are unable to pinpoint site operators operating illegally and that allows them to go unpunished.

The NPA wants to counter that by requiring all online matchmaking sites to register with prefectural public safety commissions or be punished for not doing so. The NPA will draw up a list of requirements operators will be expected to meet and ban members of organized crime gangs or those with criminal records from involvement in the business.

To combat juvenile crime, site operators will be required to remove any posts that may lead to illegal activity. Under the current law, deletions are left in the hands of operators, but the NPA wants to make it mandatory for site operators to immediately wipe out any posts making references to children.

And law enforcers also want some way to improve age verification methods. Currently, most sites only ask users whether they are over 18 and allow them access if they say they are, making it easy for minors to use the sites if they lie. Police are hoping to make matchmaking sites a member's only business accessible through payment by credit card - which can't be issued to under 18s - or some other form of identification, such as a driver's license.

Crime connected to online matchmaking sites has declined since the law regulating the business came into effect in 2003, but there was an increase of 92 people to 1,153 cases in 2006 which prompted police to feel the existing regulations still aren't sufficient.

Sphere: Related Content

No comments: