National / Crime & Legal

Stalker gets 14-year prison term for stabbing pop idol

Kyodo, Staff Report

A court on Tuesday sentenced a 28-year-old man to 14 years and six months in prison for stabbing a pop idol more than 20 times in revenge for her spurning his gifts and social media messages.

Tomohiro Iwazaki was charged with the attempted murder of Mayu Tomita, a 21-year-old university student and singer-songwriter.

Iwazaki pleaded guilty last week to stabbing Tomita last May during a hearing at the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Court.

The focal point of the case was the length of sentence with prosecutors seeking a 17-year prison term.

“It was an extremely self-centered act,” the prosecutors told the court last week.

According to the indictment, Iwazaki was angered and humiliated after Tomita returned gifts he had sent her, including a watch and books. He tried to talk to her at a train station on the evening of May 21 last year before she was scheduled to perform with other pop idols.

After reportedly losing his temper when she refused to give him a clear reason, the indictment said he stabbed Tomita more than 20 times, inflicting wounds to her neck, chest, arms and back. The assault left her in a critical condition in hospital for months.

Following the attack it emerged Tomita had previously reported Iwazaki and his actions to the police, who did not consider Iwazaki’s advances to be an urgent matter. The police later apologized for not addressing Tomita’s complaints.

During the court hearing last week Tomita told of how the attack had affected her life, saying that she was continuing with rehabilitation but her mouth had been partially paralyzed, making it difficult to sing and eat, and that she also had trouble with her eyesight.

Speaking from behind a partition that shielded her from the defendant and others in the courtroom, she said, “I want him to return the life that I was supposed to live. I want him to return my body without scars.”

“I am sure (the defendant) is laughing inwardly as I speak now, and I don’t believe he has reflected upon his act at all,” she said. “He should not be set free.”

While she was speaking, Iwazaki shouted, “Then you should kill me,” prompting the court to order him removed.