TOKYO (TR) – From “ideal” to “awful.”
Last December, police in Tokyo arrested Shoji Otaki, 27, who is suspected of swindling women via a dating application for users undertaking konkatsu, or “marriage seeking” activities.
Persons registering with the app are asked to submit a portrait photograph and their occupation, annual income and height. They are also asked what they are seeking in a relationship.
For Otaki, he wooed female users with sweet talk, including suggesting that they “live together,” before coercing them into handing over large amounts of money. After the funds were forwarded, he dropped out of contact.
Fuji News Network (Feb. 18) claims the case reflects a trend whereby an increasing number of women are being taken advantage of by fraudsters operating online.
In September of last year, one of Otaki’s victims sent him 200,000 yen after he claimed to have lost his wallet “in a toilet during a business trip.”
She tells the network that the suspect was highly skilled at his craft. “I thought that he was a real gentleman,” she said. “He used such polite language. In playing the gentleman role, I think he is very skillful.”
Otaki registered several accounts with the app in which he only provided initials. For his salary and occupation, he provided false information, including that he worked for foreign capital group. As to what he was seeking, he claimed to want “an ideal partner.”
For at least one victim whom he met via the app, Otaki took her to a fancy restaurant in the ritzy Ginza area and provided her with a present.
Another victim tells the network that with more women nowadays entering regular society — as opposed to, say, engaging in arranged marriages as before — they are vulnerable to such scams. “I think it is awful,” she tells the network of the app. “I am too angry to remember many of the things [that happened].”
“Hotbed of crime”
Fuji News Network describes online dating as “a hotbed of crime.” Indeed, the case involving Otaki is just the latest of several to emerge this year.
In January, police arrested four male nationals of African countries for carrying out frauds in which they are suspected of posing online as members of U.S. military in swindling Japanese women.
Earlier this month, Saitama Prefectural Police arrested a male employee of Oriental Land Co., the operator of Tokyo Disney Resort, for allegedly defrauding a woman he met on a dating site.
In the case of Otaki, police are aware of about a dozen victims. Thus far, the swindled funds have not been returned to the victims.