The parents of a woman who was murdered in 1999 by a group of men linked to her ex-boyfriend failed Wednesday to win recognition that the negligence by Saitama police who failed to act on her complaint of stalking and harassment led to her slaying.
The Tokyo High Court instead upheld a lower court ruling that the parents of 21-year-old Shiori Ino only receive 5.5 million yen in damages from the Saitama Prefectural Government.
Presiding Judge Toshinobu Akiyama said the damages should be paid because police “betrayed the hope and trust” of the victim by failing to act on a criminal complaint she had filed for defamation of character.
But Akiyama denied a causal link between the police inaction and Ino’s murder.
He said police should not necessarily have foreseen that Ino’s life was in danger.
Ino’s father indicated he will appeal the ruling.
Her parents had demanded 110 million yen in damages from the prefectural government because police did not act on her complaint and then falsified official records to make it look as though no complaint had been filed.
Three Saitama Prefectural Police officers were given suspended sentences over the coverup.
Ino, a college student, was stalked and harassed by her former boyfriend, Kazuhito Komatsu, after she ended their relationship in 1999.
Komatsu persistently urged her to go out with him again and distributed libelous fliers around her home with the help of other men.
Ino filed a criminal complaint with the Ageo Police Station that July for defamation of character. Police not only failed to act on the complaint but visited Ino’s house to urge her to withdraw it.
Ino was stabbed to death that Oct. 26 in broad daylight outside JR Okegawa Station by four men, including Komatsu’s brother, Takeshi.
At a news conference after the ruling, Ino’s mother, Kyoko, expressed fury at the court decision.
“I am just appalled,” she said, dressed in her daughter’s suit and wearing her watch and jewelry. “We turned to the court because police did not help us. Instead, the judge did not go over our case fairly. Is this how the justice system in Japan works?”
Ino’s father, Kenichi, also slammed the ruling, saying it is tantamount to a statement that police do not need to help people.
He went on to say the ruling is “useless” to any parents who have lost their daughters in crimes as well as those who may meet the same fate in the future.
He said the family has “no choice but to appeal (to the Supreme Court) because this ruling does not change anything.”
Kazuhito Komatsu was found dead in January 2000 in Hokkaido after apparently committing suicide.
Takeshi Komatsu, who was arrested two months after the killing, has been sentenced to life, and his three accomplices were sentenced to prison terms ranging from 15 to 18 years.
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