|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
Lock up your kids! Pedophile rings on export drive
Sunday Mainichi 11/30 By Mark Schreiber
Last April in Milan, Italy, three Asians pretending to be a family group attracted the suspicion of airport immigration authorities and were detained for questioning.
The "parents" turned out to be Hiroyuki Kataoka, a Japanese national, and Chen Liu, a citizen of the People's Republic of China.
Upon interrogation by Italian authorities, reports Sunday Mainichi, they admitted that the 12-year old girl accompanying them had been purchased from her parents in China for approximately 4 million yen, and was heading for Miami, Florida, where she was to be sold to pedophiles.
Kataoka, 35, was also found to have in his possession a list giving the ages and personal data of 10 other children, complete with photographs.
An investigator was quoted as saying that Kataoka has been under observation as a suspected member of the "Snake Head" smuggling syndicate.
Operating out of Phnom Penh, Kataoka escorted Chinese children holding forged Japanese passports to waiting buyers in the United States.
According to Sunday Mainichi, investigators have learned that the syndicate, under the direction of a Chinese boss, is divided into three units: one that procures the children; a second that forges travel documents; and a third that escorts children to waiting customers.
All of the eight individuals believed involved in escort activities are reported to be Japanese nationals.
Interestingly, the numbers and issue dates of the forged Japanese passports corresponded to genuine Japanese travel documents, but happened to be held by people who seldom traveled abroad.
The investigator suggests the possibility that the Snake Heads may be receiving help from an insider.
Tetsuyuki Sato, who was arrested while attempting to bring three Chinese girls into United States from Spain, is believed to have escorted as many as 30 girls, earning profits of 100 million yen or even twice that amount.
"The smuggling routes into the U.S. vary," a former broker in the flesh trade tells Sunday Mainichi.
"Our expenses ran up to around 500,000 yen a head.
The escorts got an extra bonus of about 100,000 yen if they made it in."
The broker was recruited in 1996 when he heard that the syndicate was looking for Japanese to escort children into the United States.
Japanese do not require visas for short-term visits and are regarded as trustworthy by syndicates.
But Sunday Mainichi failed to find any evidence that Japanese yakuza arefunding the child-smuggling operation.
"The yakuza work as subcontractors for Snake Head," says investigative journalist Atsushi Mizoguchi.
"It is known that they help bring stowaways into Japan and look after them.
But I've never heard of their involvement in the white slave trade."
"As long as the demand exists, this business will never stop," says the former broker.
And if he's correct, concludes Sunday Mainichi, then somewhere, even as you read this, a child is being sold.(MS)