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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

LIFELINES

Cyber-abuse and paying local dues


Reader J wants to know what can be done about harassment by e-mail or regular mail.

"I have of course reported the matter to Okayama Police HQ. Is there a department at the NPA in Tokyo technically equipped to deal with cyber-stalking and able to subpoena (the server) in Hong Kong to reveal the abusive mailer and stalker's identity?"

There is a special department at the National Police Agency that targets cyber-crime. You can find it at www.npa.go.jp/cyber/english/policy/hightech_prog.htm. There is also an Unauthorized Computer Access Law at www.npa.go.jp/cyber/english/legislation/ucalaw.html. The main NPA Web site is at www.npa.go.jp. You can also call the National Police Agency directly on (03) 3581-4321 and, yes, they do have someone who speaks English.

You might also like to consult with a lawyer. Your local "bengoshikai" will be able to find you a lawyer and they will usually provide a consultation for free or for at most a minimal charge. Each bengoshikai, or bar association, will usually have an English-speaking lawyer.

Do any readers have any experience of cyber-crime in Japan?

More taxing stuff

Ryan in Hiroshima has heard conflicting stories about what he calls "citizens' tax."

"Through the City Office I was told two stories — which is true? Do I have to pay this tax? What is this tax? Who has to pay it? I am not a citizen, I can't vote, why do I have to pay this tax? None of these questions were answered in Japanese or English, can you help me?"

The "tominzei" or "shiminzei" is a tax levied on all residents of a particular ward or town. It is required and is separate from the national tax. The residents' tax pays for local concerns including libraries, swimming pools, public facilities etc. that are only used by local residents.

Some good sites to visit for more information are the national tax agency at www.mof.go.jp/english/tax/tax.htm and the Taxes In Japan page at www2.gol.com/users/jpc/Japan/taxes.htm. The tax rate is generally 2 to 3 percent.

Ken Joseph directs The Japan Helpline at www.jhelp.com or (0570) 000-911. Send your queries, questions, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp


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