National / Crime & Legal

Police failed to record previous stalking case linked to idol-stabbing suspect

Kyodo

Police failed to record an earlier stalking incident of another woman by the 27-year-old man arrested last week for attacking an idol singer with a knife in Tokyo.

Tomohiro Iwazaki was arrested Saturday for viciously stabbing Mayu Tomita, 20, during an event in Koganei, Tokyo, over her apparent refusal of a gift.

Tomita, who was stabbed more than 20 times, remains in critical condition and has yet to regain consciousness.

According to investigators, another woman consulted the Manseibashi Police Station in Tokyo about three years ago, with police determining that it was Iwazaki who had written several threats on her blog, it was learned Thursday.

Iwazaki reportedly refused several phone requests by police to come in for questioning and halted posts to the woman’s blog.

As a result, police merely recorded her name and a summary of her consultation.

Authorities, however, failed to log Iwazaki’s name in the Metropolitan Police Department’s system for registering consultations and were unaware of the case when Tomita later consulted police, saying a man named Iwazaki had been repeatedly sending hostile messages to her blog and Twitter account.

A senior investigator said police should have recorded Iwazaki’s name in the earlier case.

Iwazaki also told investigators he attacked Tomita before her scheduled appearance in Tokyo because she began making a phone call, investigators said Thursday.

The suspect’s accounts match the circumstances surrounding the assault on Tomita, who stopped responding to an emergency call operator after she said, “Help me,” which was followed by a scream.

Authorities believe Tomita was attacked as she placed the emergency call.

Iwazaki told investigators he initially asked Tomita about gifts she had returned to him, but she gave a vague answer and began making a call on her smartphone while ignoring him, police said.

The attack occurred Saturday near the building where Tomita was scheduled to appear at an event in Koganei. Police officers arrived at the scene soon after her emergency call and another by a witness.

Iwazaki was arrested at the scene. Police are investigating the case on suspicion of attempted murder. Iwazaki is believed to have stalked her for several months.