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He Was Angry at His Phone Company. Then, a 'Tipping Point'

71-year-old Akitoshi Okamoto arrested after KDDI says he made 24K phone calls to them
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2019 8:15 AM CST
Stock photo.   (Getty Images/Wavebreakmedia)

(Newser) – Customer service hotlines exist in part so that customers can air grievances, and one elderly man in Japan apparently took advantage of that. CNN reports 71-year-old Akitoshi Okamoto was arrested Nov. 26 on suspicion of fraudulent obstruction of business after allegedly making 24,000 phone calls over a two-and-a-half-year period to a toll-free number to KDDI, a telecommunications company he claims violated its service contract with him. KDDI says it started getting the calls from Okamoto in May 2017. By October of this year, the company had enough and put in a damage report with police, saying Okamoto's calls "seriously interfered with its business," keeping operators from taking care of other job duties and customers.

According to Metropolitan Police in Tokyo, Okamoto would call KDDI and either harangue and insult whomever took his call, insist that someone from customer service pay him a personal visit, or simply call and then hang up, per the BBC. Newsweek reports the company didn't want to get the police involved, but that the "tipping point" came when Okamoto called KDDI 411 times in one week in October. Per Japanese media, Okamoto is claiming he's the victim, not KDDI; his reported beef is that his phone can't pick up radio broadcasts. The AFP notes that as Japan's older population grows, there's been an uptick in "social problems" involving the elderly, including car accidents and an increase in violence on public transportation. (Read more Japan stories.)

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