The tragic case of Ms. Saaya Suzuki highlights an urgent need for the Metropolitan Police Department to overhaul how it handles stalking cases. Despite having asked the police last week for help in connection with a man who had been harassing her, Ms. Suzuki, an 18-year-old high school student, was stabbed around 5 p.m. Tuesday at her residence in Mitaka, Tokyo, and later died. The police arrested a suspect, 21-year-old Mr. Charles Thomas Ikenaga, about 90 minutes after the stabbing on a street near the crime scene.
On the morning of Oct. 8, the Mitaka police tried to call the man three times on his cellphone to issue a warning but took no further action other than to leave a message for him to contact them on his phone when he did not answer. The police made the calls at the girl’s request and because the stalking law requires the police to first give an oral warning to stalkers, then a written warning if they do not stop their harassment.