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Police probe points to rehired Zushi retiree

Stalking victim info leak laid to tax man

Kyodo

A former tax division chief in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, may have been the person who leaked personal information on a local housewife that enabled a stalker to track her to her home and murder her last November, police sources said Friday.

A key focus in 33-year-old Rie Miyoshi’s murder investigation is how Hideto Kozutsumi, 44, found out where she lived despite her efforts to hide any traces from the former-lover-turned-stalker, who killed himself after fatally stabbing her. The victim had married, changed her name and moved to Zushi.

Police suspect the information was leaked from the municipal government, and, based on system records, they alleged that the ex-tax division chief, who is in his 60s and was rehired to work in the same division after retirement, searched for and retrieved Miyoshi’s tax information.

The police said the suspected leaker may have accessed Miyoshi’s personal information and passed it on to Hirotoshi Kohama, another suspected link in the information chain between the Zushi government and the killer.

Kohama, a 59-year-old Tokyo “research company” executive, is under arrest for a separate count of illegally obtaining utility gas user information from Keiyo Gas Co. in Ichikawa, Chiba Prefecture. He is not registered to operate a detective agency as is required by law, police said.

According to Zushi sources, the city office’s computer system shows someone searched for Miyoshi’s tax payment record and viewed it for three minutes from 11 a.m. on Nov. 5, the day before the murder. The record included her name and address.

Zushi has in place a system to restrict any viewing of a resident’s personal information when that person is being stalked. The system kicks in upon a request from the victim, and Miyoshi had applied for it.

Eight of the nine workers of the Zushi tax collection division, including the suspected leaker, are assigned accounts to access the municipal information system, and all denied divulging the information when interrogated by the municipal government.

Police suspect Kohama, at the request of a private detective hired by the murderer, may have called the Zushi office on the day before the murder, coercing a municipal worker to provide the housewife’s address.