6 held for molesting at least 18 boys

Jiji PressTOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Kanagawa prefectural police department and other police forces have arrested a group of six men for allegedly molesting boys and creating child pornography.

A total of 168 boys aged between four and 13 from nine prefectures are believed to have been victimized.

The suspects facing charges of forcible indecency and violating the laws banning child prostitution and child pornography include Akira Hashimoto, a temporary elementary school teacher in Tokyo, and Tetsuya Kaihotsu, an unemployed man in the western prefecture of Osaka.

Hashimoto, 45, has partly denied the allegations, saying he has not committed any obscene acts, while the others admitted to the charges, police sources said.

The Kanagawa and six other prefectural police departments have set up a joint investigation task force for the case and have seized more than 100,000 items, including videos.

The six suspects, 20 to 66 years old, have exchanged images they acquired. No leaks online have been confirmed.

Hashimoto is suspected of touching the body of a 4-year-old boy and taking a video of him with a watch-type camera at a toilet in a Tokyo park on March 28 last year.

Kaihotsu, 35, was arrested last September for allegedly committing an indecent act on an 8-year-old boy and filming it at a campsite in Gunma Prefecture.

According to the Kanagawa police, Kaihotsu, beginning in 2012, accompanied camp events held by a nonprofit organization as a courier from a travel agency. In the camps, he allegedly touched the bodies of sleeping boys, took their clothes off to apply medicine on their skin and created pornography.

Of the arrested suspects, three including a university student became acquainted with Kaihotsu via social media. Speech

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