A man who called a telephone directory service for no reason more than 7,000 times was arrested Tuesday, Japanese police reported Wednesday.

Hideo Shimizu, a 63-year-old unemployed man, was taken into custody by the police in Mie prefecture, southern Japan, for allegedly calling NTT's directory services over 7,000 times between November 2004 and January 2005.

Shimizu would usually call when drunk and try to pick fights with phone operators who would take his calls. Of the 700 operators who worked at NTT's Nagoya service center where the calls were taken, 60 said that they felt ill as a result of his continued prank calls.

Shimizu said he made the calls because he felt lonely since his wife died three years ago. On the day of his arrest, he had already called the center 12 times.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International