Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on Friday ordered a crackdown on crime rings that use social media to recruit new members and task them with committing burglaries and fraud, as the government responds to a string of recent robberies across the country.

Kishida called for stronger measures against online posts seeking people for "yami baito," literally meaning dark part-time jobs, while stressing the need to conduct "cyber patrols" to eradicate recruiting for criminal activities. He also directed focus be put on ensuring the protection of personal information such as customer data to prevent scammers from using it in their schemes.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida (2nd from R) speaks at a meeting for crime prevention in Tokyo on March 17, 2023. (Kyodo)

"It is the government's biggest responsibility to ensure the safety of the people," Kishida told the meeting at the prime minister's office.

Other measures include strengthening actions against companies providing call forwarding services, which are often used in scams, and increasing the take up among the elderly of landline telephones with caller ID displays.

"Many people have expressed concerns that they may become a victim" given increasing fraud cases, Kishida said.

Japan has seen a string of break-ins in recent years that were allegedly ordered by a group of ringleaders who were recently arrested in Japan after being deported from the Philippines.

The alleged fraudsters are thought to have organized the crimes by offering high-paid jobs in which people were tasked with committing the robberies.

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