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85-year-old Japanese man arrested for stalking woman, 80

AFP-JIJI

Police have arrested an 85-year-old man in Wakayama Prefecture for allegedly stalking an 80-year-old woman he reportedly met when she shared a hospital room with his now-dead wife.

Takeo Nitta, of Hashimoto, allegedly left several telephone messages on the woman’s answering machine in November, saying: “I’m waiting outside your house. Let’s go out.”

Officers warned him twice against harassment after receiving complaints from the woman, but his behavior escalated and on May 2 he allegedly broke into her house, a police spokesman said Monday.

Nitta was arrested June 10 on suspicion of violating anti-stalking laws and has largely admitted the allegations, the spokesman said.

In a report last week, the Asahi Shimbun said the two had met when the woman shared a hospital room with Nitta’s wife several years earlier. His wife died last year, the paper reported.

The number of crimes committed by the elderly is climbing as they make up an ever-larger portion of the aging population.

Government figures show the number of criminals aged 65 or older booked by police in 2011 had risen sixfold in two decades.

Most crimes involve shoplifting or theft, but violent crimes are also on the rise, statistics show.

The number of Japanese aged 65 or over stands at around 32 million, making up a quarter of the population, an all-time high for the nation and one of the highest proportions of elderly people in the world.