Police stalker warnings hit high but action eludes

Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

Police issued 1,511 warnings against stalkers between January and August, but when it came to repeated pleas by a woman in Kanagawa Prefecture that they act against an ex-boyfriend who was stalking her online, they did nothing and she was slain last week.

The 1,500-plus police warnings this year were in accordance with a law aimed to deter harassment. The warnings already surpass the full-year record of 1,384 in 2007, according to data released Tuesday by the National Police Agency.

The agency believes the number of cases police took action against increased because of stepped-up efforts to crack down on stalkers following the murder of two women last year in Saikai, Nagasaki Prefecture, allegedly by a man who stalked a female relative of the victims.

Like the woman in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, the woman from Sakai and her father identified the stalker and asked police to intervene, but they didn’t.

The police refused to act in the Zushi case because the law does not apply to harassment if it is only countless nonthreatening emails to a victim.

It was reported last week that Hideto Kozutsumi stabbed Rie Miyoshi of Zushi to death after learning her new married name and address from the police who arrested him earlier for stalking her, then hanged himself.