National / Crime & Legal

Police took action on record 9,088 domestic violence cases across Japan in 2018

Kyodo

Japan continues to see a rise in reported instances of domestic violence, with police taking action on a record 9,088 cases in 2018, the National Police Agency said Thursday, marking the 15th consecutive annual increase since the agency began collecting such data in 2003.

The NPA said increased social awareness of the issue is believed to have resulted in a rise in the number of people seeking police consultations, leading to arrests and other actions. The 2018 figure was up 666 from a year before.

The NPA said there were 77,482 cases of people contacting local police about domestic violence problems, an increase of 5,027.

The police suspect two cases of domestic violence led to murder.

In February last year, a woman was killed in a house fire in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture. Police arrested a man who was living with her on suspicion he poured a flammable liquid over the woman and set her on fire.

In August, a woman in Misawa, Aomori Prefecture, was allegedly stabbed to death by her former husband. They worked in the same meat processing plant and the woman had complained to the police about defamatory postings by the man on an internet bulletin board.

There were 109 domestic violence cases involving attempted murder, according to the agency data.

While about 80 percent of domestic violence victims were women, the number of male victims nearly tripled from 2014 to 2018 to reach 15,964, the agency said.

By age, victims in their 30s accounted for the highest proportion at 28.2 percent, followed by those in their 40s at 24.1 percent and victims in their 20s at 23.4 percent.

Spouses or former spouses were perpetrators in 76.1 percent of the cases.

Stalking cases declined by 161 from the previous year to 2,464 in 2018, while consultations with police about stalking also declined, by 1,523 to 21,556. Police said a tightening of the anti-stalking law is likely to have served as a deterrent.

One stalking case resulted in a murder.

In November, a Filipino woman was allegedly stabbed to death by her ex-boyfriend in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture. The suspect had been warned by police to stay away from her.

Nearly 90 percent of stalking victims, or 18,949, were women. Current or former boyfriends or girlfriends accounted for the highest proportion of stalkers at 43.3 percent, while 7.5 percent were strangers.

The number of consultations with police regarding so-called revenge pornography came to 1,347 cases in 2018, up 104, according to the agency. Police recognized 253 of them as violations of related laws.

Revenge pornography involves a victim that has compromising images of a sexual nature retained, distributed or used as a form of leverage by another person.

Women were victims in 93.3 percent of the revenge pornography cases.

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