The Tobacco Institute of Japan, the industry body of tobacco manufacturers, has turned over vending machine logs on individuals’ cigarette purchases and their personal information to prosecutors for investigative purposes, informed sources said.
The logs showing the use of taspo smart cards included records of when and at which vending machines the smokers bought cigarettes, as well as their dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers, the sources said.
There has been at least one case in which the logs helped investigators find a person they were looking for, the sources said.
Taspo cards, issued by the institute, are required to buy cigarettes from vending machines. The cards are issued only to adults aged 20 and older to block smoking by minors.
This appears to be the first time the use of taspo logs by criminal investigative authorities has become public knowledge.