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Police nationwide arrested 66 people over violations of the antistalking law between November, when it took effect, and the end of May, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

The 66 were among 71 people police investigated between Nov. 24 and May 31, the agency said.

Police also issued warnings to 453 people in line with the law, and of them, 96 percent ceased stalking activities after being warned, according to the agency.

“Warnings have largely been effective in preventing possible damage from expanding,” the agency said.

Of the 453 warned, 18 defied the warning and were ordered to cease stalking. Three of them were arrested for alleged order violations.

Investigations were opened on 68 people without issuance of a warning, of whom 63 were arrested.

The law to ban stalking, instituted Nov. 24 amid a rising number of stalking complaints, stipulates maximum punishments of one year in prison or fines of up to 1 million yen.

Stalking is defined as repeated acts of harassment of a specific person, motivated by an emotional attachment or a grudge due to unrequited love.

The law also has provisions requiring police to assist potential stalking victims by, for example, renting out security alarms.

In the period, police offered assistance under the law on 356 occasions.

In the period through June 30, police received 9,142 stalking complaints, of which 4,744 were in Tokyo and major urban areas in Saitama, Chiba, Kanagawa, Aichi, Kyoto, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures.

Women accounted for 88.8 percent of complainants, while 88.4 percent of the alleged stalkers were men.

Nearly half of the alleged victims were in their 20s, while among stalkers, those in their 20s and 30s combined accounted for more than half.

As to possible reasons for stalking, barring 1,663 cases where police could not identify the motives, 51.2 percent were alleged cases involving current or former dating partners, while 14.4 percent involved current or former spouses.

In 89 percent of cases, stalkers and the stalked knew each other.

MPD crime task force

The Metropolitan Police Department decided Wednesday to set up a task force of 930 officers in early September to combat Japanese organized crime syndicates and foreign criminal gangs, MPD officials said.

The new task force will bring seven existing sections under its wing, along with a special investigative squad, the officials said. It will fight organized crime and collect data.

Japanese gangsters are providing some Chinese robbery gangs with information about wealthy residents, the officials said.

The MPD handled about 4,500 cases involving foreign criminals in the first half of this year, up about 1,000 from a year ago, with the number of those committing serious crimes steadily rising.

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