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 / Updated  / Source: NBC News

TOKYO — A former school principal accused of paying for sex with 12,700 women in the Philippines — including minors — was arrested in Japan, according to police and local media reports.

Yuhei Takahashi, 64, was arrested on Wednesday for filming sex acts with minors between the ages of 13 and 14 at a hotel in Manila in January 2014 and for producing child porn, Kanagawa Prefectural Police told NBC News.

The police raid of his home turned up roughly 400 photo albums containing images of over 12,000 women in their teens and some as old as in their 70s, according to the Asahi Shimbum daily newspaper. According the Asahi report, the photographs are believed to have been taken over the course of 20 years during Takahashi's 65-plus visits to the Philippines — dating back to 1988 when he taught at a Japanese school there.

Takahashi told police he met the women in the Philippines and remembered thinking the “price was cheap,” the newspaper reported, citing a police source. It added that Takahashi also told police that deviating from “moral behavior” gave him a “sense of freedom.”

The local education board in Yokohama city apologized for the incident at a Thursday press conference, saying that Takahashi began teaching in 1975 and later served as a junior high school principal until his retirement in 2012.

One of the officials present could not hide his disbelief: “He was a principal and as someone who served at a post which requires responsibility conducted these acts — when we first heard it we just could not believe it.”

— Arata Yamamoto