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Publication Date : 19-07-2012
The US Homeland Security Department has arrested a Japanese man who allegedly managed child porn sites in the United States on suspicion of violating a federal law that prohibits advertisement and possession of child pornography, according to investigative sources.
The arrest of Kimihiko Makino, 38, a company executive from Toshima Ward, Tokyo, came after the Metropolitan Police Department and other police this month arrested several members of a group that allegedly sold child porn DVDs on the websites it operates by helping potential customers circumvent technology that blocks access to child pornography sites.
The arrest in the United States was made based on information provided by Japanese investigation authorities; such collaboration is rare for arrests involving multiple members of the same group.
According to information the MPD received from the United States, the Homeland Security Department arrested Makino in San Francisco on July 6 on suspicion of carrying Internet advertisements for child porn DVDs.
Makino allegedly managed child porn websites, and many child porn images remained on the servers, sources said, adding that he has already been indicted.
The MPD, during its initial investigations into the group, concluded that it was operating child porn websites using more than 10 rented servers in the United States. The MPD provided information to U.S. authorities a couple of months ago through the US Embassy in Tokyo.
The MPD also learned that Makino, who travels between Japan and the United States several times a year, managed the websites. On July 2, police arrested six people, including Yoshiyuki Hayashi, 48, on suspicion of violating the law prohibiting child prostitution and child pornography, for counts including provision of child pornography. On the following day, two more members of the group were arrested.
At the time of these arrests, Makino was in the United States. Once informed of that fact by the MPD, the Homeland Security Department arrested Makino, sources said.
Blocking of access to child pornography started in April last year in Japan, but this measure only covers URL addresses. To get around the block, the group applied the so-called IP "jikauchi" manual input method of changing URL addresses to IP addresses, which consist entirely of a string of numbers. This allows users to access child porn online through banner ads and other means. Pornography of kindergarten and primary school children that was distributed in the past was copied on DVDs using personal computers. The group allegedly took orders via e-mail and sold DVDs for 680 yen each. The annual sales exceeded 100 million yen a year, sources said.
The MPD is investigating further, as it believes there is an individual who gave instructions to Makino, the sources added.
The Homeland Security Department, which has the authority to arrest, was established in 2002, following the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, to better cope with terrorist attacks and natural disasters by integrating several US government organs such as the Secret Service and the Coast Guard. It not only collects terrorist-related information but also investigates illegal immigrants, smuggling and child pornography. The department exchanges information with Japanese authorities regarding cyber-attacks, child porn and other crimes that are international in nature.