It started off as an item in Japan's Weekly Playboy, but led to major TV station Asahi sending a team to Shiga County, way outside cosmopolitan Tokyo, to measure the length of the girls' school skirts. A rampant internet rumour was circulating to the effect that they were the shortest in the kingdom.
This led to the region attracting a record number of "up-skirt"
enthusiasts, who like to take surreptitious pictures of girls' underwear with cameras hidden in their shoe tips.
"We are not sure if the internet chat rooms and media attention has anything to do with it, but there has been an increase in secret camera-related arrests and it's a bother," Shigeru Morita, deputy chief of Shiga County Police's Railroad Division, told Weekly Playboy.
Japan is famous for its school uniforms, often on a naval theme of cotton socks, loafers and prim-looking Victorian navy suits.
In the land where vending machines allegedly dispense worn women's briefs, the schoolgirl fetish is one of many unsavoury activities. It must be said, however, that the length of skirt is down to the pupils themselves hitching them up.