Tokyo Ward Offices, Police, Fire Stations Flooded by Crank Phone Calls from China

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc.’s Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant is seen following the release of treated water.

Several ward offices and police and fire stations in Tokyo have received a flood of crank phone calls, believed to have originated from China, since Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, Inc. began discharging treated water into the ocean on Thursday.

Public facilities, restaurants and other establishments in Japan have been receiving such harassing calls, with many callers criticizing the Japanese government’s decision to release treated water into the sea. Many of the calls were reportedly from phone numbers beginning with China’s country code “86.”

“These calls could disrupt the services we provide to ward residents,” said a Chiyoda Ward Office official. “They cause so much trouble, and the callers must stop.”

The ward office received more than 1,000 crank calls between Thursday and Monday. Chiyoda Ward is home to the Nagatacho and Kasumigaseki districts, where many central government buildings are located.

According to the ward office, it received 382 such calls during the daytime on Friday alone, and the phone rang every one to five minutes even during the nighttime on the day.

Although the number of such phone calls has been decreasing, it continued on Monday. The ward office received 81 calls as of 5 p.m. and reported the situation to Kojimachi Police Station on the same day.

The Nakano Ward Office began receiving calls Thursday evening. Callers would yell in English, Chinese and Japanese, saying in Japanese, “Why are you polluting the ocean?”

The ward office received about 1,700 calls between Friday and Sunday. It received 26 calls between 8:30 a.m. and noon on Monday.

Police and fire stations in Tokyo have also been receiving many similar calls believed to have originated from China.

The Tokyo Wangan Police Station received about 1,270 calls from Friday evening to Monday late afternoon. These calls were made from numbers beginning with China’s country code “86” to the police station’s main number.

According to a senior station officer, in many cases the callers did not say a word or they ranted in Chinese or made abusive comments in Japanese and then hung up.