National / Crime & Legal

Nagoya court rules against man accused of domestic violence based solely on wife's account

Kyodo

On Thursday a high court rejected a claim by a man that he had been wrongly certified as a perpetrator of domestic violence, overturning a lower court order for his former wife and local authorities to pay damages for inappropriate certification.

The man in his 40s living in Aichi Prefecture had sought ¥3.3 million ($30,320), saying he was prevented from seeing his daughter, who was living with the mother, after police accepted his former spouse’s request in 2016 to hide her address.

At that time, the former wife claimed she was the victim of abuse and the Aichi prefectural police accepted the request without trying to verify her account, according to the plaintiff.

After receiving a police report, the local municipality limited access to the former wife’s address in the government database.

Presiding Judge Atsuhiko Nagano of the Nagoya High Court said the man used violence such as “pushing the former wife’s buttocks with his foot” and that she was “stressed out at that time as her daughter became mentally and physically unstable due to a dispute (between her parents) over visitation.”

“We cannot say that she failed to satisfy the requirements as a victim of domestic violence who deserves legal protection,” Nagano said.

“Police are not necessarily required to investigate claims by the (alleged) perpetrators because they give priority to ensuring the victims’ safety,” he added.

Last April, the Nagoya District Court ordered the then-wife and the prefectural government to pay ¥550,000 in damages, saying, “Although we cannot say the abuse was unfounded, there was a possibility of exaggeration (in her plea) as there was no medical certificate submitted.”

Both the plaintiff and defendants appealed the court decision. The couple divorced after the district court ruling.

According to the ruling, the couple were married in 2006 and their daughter was born the following year. The mother and the daughter have lived separately from the father since 2012.