What’s the 411 976?

Something doesn’t add up here:

Takahiro Fujinuma – who is 37, single and unemployed – reportedly would whisper “darling” as he tried to start a conversation and then pleaded with female operators not to hang up.

He was arrested yesterday in Tokyo on charges of obstructing the business of service operator NTT Solco, part of telecom giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone.

He placed 2,600 calls to directory help – reached in Japan by dialling 104 – between early June and mid-November, a police spokesman said.

Single and unemployed, I get. I could’ve guessed that without the added confirmation. But how does an unemployed man afford that many calls to directory assistance? Is the Japanese system unlike directory assistance offered by American telecom companies?

Assuming the price charged by American companies earns a profit, it would make sense to answer his calls and inform him when he made any inappropriate advance that the call would terminate. The company gets his money, which should discourage excessive calling. If he verged from annoying the company by purchasing its services into lecherous harassment, charge him with that. But I can’t see how calling 200 times per night could disrupt a national business unless the service is free.

Again, I’m not condoning his apparently pervish advances. This just seems an odd conclusion to an odd situation.

Via Boing Boing.

One thought on “What’s the 411 976?”

  1. A friend used to work as an operator – he said that it was surprising how many people (especially the elderly) would call on some pretense, but really just wanted to chat.
    One woman, calling for the number of a pizza place that didn’t exist, kept him on the phone for 30 minutes.

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