The National Public Safety Commission on Thursday reprimanded the head of the Saitama Prefectural Police for inappropriate remarks concerning the 1999 murder of a 21-year-old college student who had been stalked.
Saitama Prefectural Police Chief Tadayoshi Shigeta was issued a reprimand based on internal bylaws but was not served any punishment based on the National Public Service Law.
At issue are remarks Shigeta made concerning the death of Shiori Ino.
Ino, who was being stalked and harassed by her ex-boyfriend after breaking up with him, was fatally stabbed Oct. 26, 1999, by four men, including the brother of her ex-boyfriend, outside JR Okegawa Station.
The Saitama District Court ordered the prefecture on Feb. 26 to pay 5.5 million yen in damages to her parents as police had failed to act on a complaint she had filed in which she stated she was being stalked and libeled. The Saitama police instead falsified her complaint. Ino’s parents had demanded 110 million yen.
Although the court did not recognize any link between the police’s failure to act on the woman’s complaint and the stabbing, it ordered the prefecture to pay compensation because the police had betrayed the woman’s trust.
It was later learned that a few days before the ruling, on Feb. 13, Shigeta said at an official meeting that when Saitama police wrote up a report in 2000 on the Ino case in which it admitted it was lazy in probing the complaint, officers “happened to write inaccurate information because the National Police Agency told us to ‘write that you were at fault.’ “
He also voiced concerns that the girl’s parents might appeal the ruling “if the amount of compensation awarded them is too small.”
The comments were later sent to other senior officials in the prefectural police force via e-mail as “Comments from the police chief.”
After the remarks came to light, the NPA summoned Shigeta and launched an investigation into how and why the remarks were made.
Ino’s parents have appealed the district court ruling, saying they want a clear relationship acknowledged between the murder and the failure by police to act on the complaint.
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