Japan's pension system hacked; 1.25 million cases of personal data leaked

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's pension system has been hacked and more than a million cases of personal data leaked, the authorities said on Monday, in an embarrassment that revived memories of a scandal that helped topple Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in his first term in office.

Japan Pension Service staff computers were improperly accessed by external e-mail virus, leading to some 1.25 million cases of personal data being leaked, the system's president, Toichiro Mizushima told a hastily called news conference.

He apologised for the leak, which he said involved combinations of people's names, identification numbers, birth dates and addresses.

The pension service was setting up a team to investigate the cause and prevent a recurrence of the leak, Mizushima said.

Public outrage over botched record-keeping that left millions of pension premium payments unaccounted for was a major factor in a devastating defeat suffered by Abe's Liberal Democratic Party in a 2007 election for Parliament's upper house.

Abe, whose first Cabinet also lost several cabinet ministers to other scandals and gaffes, including one who committed suicide, resigned in September of that year in the face of parliamentary deadlock and ill health.

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