Chiba Prefectural Police admit blowing fatal stalker case

JIJI

The Chiba Prefectural Police admitted Monday that they could have prevented the murders of two people late last year who were related to a woman who was being stalked and said officials have been punished over the case.

The police have been under fire after a Chiba police station in Narashino failed to accept a stalking complaint from Makoto Yamashita, the woman’s father, when it was brought to the station on Dec. 6 last year.

In addition, the police station did not hear Yamashita’s account of the circumstances related to his complaint. Yamashita’s daughter was living in Narashino at the time.

Two days later, the station officials in charge of handling stalking complaints left for a trip to Hokkaido, which also came under public scrutiny.

The Narashino station lateraccepted the complaint on Dec. 14, but on Dec. 16, Yamashita’s wife, Mitsuko, 56, and his mother, Hisae, 77, were killed at their home in Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture, by the alleged stalker, who was harassing his third daughter.

The suspect, Gota Tsutsui, 27, was arrested by the Nagasaki Prefectural Police the following day, for stabbing the two women.

If the Narashino officials in charge of dealing with complaints hadn’t gone to Hokkaido, the stalking case could have been handled in a better way and the murders could have been prevented, the prefectural police department said in its report on its investigation into the cases.

The report added that the relevant police officials lacked of sense of crisis and cooperation in handling the case, but said the Narashino officials who were in charge of complaints did not intend to put Yamashita’s on the back burner because of the trip.

It also denied there was an attempt to cover up the trip, which was not mentioned in a report on the investigations into the stalking and murder cases that was compiled jointly by the Chiba, Nagasaki and Mie prefectural police departments in March.

Tsutsui, the murder suspect, is a resident of Mie.

Satoshi Kamada, 55, head of the Chiba Prefectural Police, was strictly reprimanded. Hitoshi Oba, 59, then chief of the Narashino station, and many others also received reprimands. Oba resigned on Monday.

Osamu Morisue, chief of criminal investigations, and another official were fired.