• Kyodo

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The number of domestic violence consultations in Japan reached a record 82,643 in 2020, the highest since a law against spousal violence took effect in 2001, police data showed Thursday, as people spent more time at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of consultations over stalking stood at 20,189 last year, down 723 from 2019, but stayed above 20,000 for the eighth consecutive year since 2013.

Among the total number of domestic violence consultations, which increased 436 from 2019, 76.4% of the alleged victims were women. By age, 23.4% were in their 20s, 27.0% in their 30s and 22.9% in their 40s, according to the National Police Agency.

A total 75.9% of the alleged assailants were men. Of these, 26.3% were in their 30s and 23.9% were in their 40s.

A record 5,183 domestic violence cases among the 8,778 investigated involved assault, followed by 2,626 cases of bodily harm. There were no murder cases, but 110 cases of attempted murder, the data showed.

There was one case of injury resulting in death, for which a man in his 80s was arrested by Fukuoka police in July for a fatal assault on his wife in her 70s.

Of the alleged stalking victims, 87.6% were women. Of all victims, those in their 20s constituted the largest group by age at 34.7% followed by those in their 30s at 23.6%.

Men made up 80.7% of alleged stalkers. Of all stalkers, the largest group by age consisted of those in their 40s at 19.4%, followed by people in their 20s and 30s at around 18% each and those in their 50s at 12.8%. Some were in their teens or were seniors aged 60 or older.

As for the relationship between victim and perpetrator, 40.8% were those who were or had been dating, while 7.4% were current or previous spouses or common-law partners. Cases involving strangers made up 7.8%.

The police investigated 2,503 stalking cases in 2020, up 148 from the previous year. Assault and bodily harm made up 1,518 cases, while 985 were violations of the anti-stalking law.

There was just one murder case, in which a 45-year-old woman working in a convenience store in Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture, was stabbed in August by a 41-year-old man, who committed suicide immediately afterward.

The government is aiming to enact a bill to revise the law against stalking at the current parliamentary session through June to ban the misuse of GPS for monitoring victims, among other measures.

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