Ken Kobayashi returned home from work one day in August last year to find that his wife and two daughters had packed their bags and disappeared.

Kobayashi, who would only agree to speak to The Japan Times on condition of anonymity, immediately reported their disappearance to the police but was informed that his wife had filed for protection, citing domestic violence.

Moderately tanned and stylishly dressed in a salmon pink V-neck shirt, the softly spoken Kobayashi does not immediately conjure up the typical image of a stalker or abuser.