crime

Murdered Okayama woman had complained to police about being stalked

69 Comments

A woman whose corpse was found floating in a harbor near here had consulted police concerning a male acquaintance she said was stalking her and threatening her with murder, police revealed Tuesday.

On the morning of Sept 29, police said they were contacted by a crew member on a barge transporting gravel in Okayama’s Shin Okayama Port. The crew member reported sighting a floating female corpse. The dead woman was subsequently identified as 24-year-old company employee Aya Sugimoto of Okayama.

On Sugimoto’s head, police found numerous abrasions indicating assault with a blunt instrument. Sugimoto had been missing since Sept 26. She left her house around 9 p.m. on that day, telling her family she was going to a movie. She had not been heard from since.

On the night of Sept 27, police say they received a phone call from a man who reportedly said, “I killed Ms Sugimoto.” The call apparently came from an Okayama hotel. The caller was identified as a 24-year-old Okayama resident whose occupation is unknown. He apparently intended to commit suicide in the hotel room by slashing his wrist with a cutter knife. He is believed to have met Sugimoto about a year earlier. In mid-September Sugimoto told police he had stalked her repeatedly and she was frightened.

The man has been hospitalized. Police say that when he recovers, they will pursue charges against him of murder and abandoning a corpse.

© Wire reports

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

69 Comments
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Useless cops did nothing even though an anti-stalking law was enacted a few years ago.

I'm beginning to think that if you are being stalked in this country, you'd be better off enlisting the aid of some friends or hiring a specialist to deal with the stalker permanently.

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Inept, utterly useless j-cops strike again. No word from the police about why they didn't do anything? Guess they were too busy making sure people were riding properly registered bicycles instead.

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Once again, the keystone cops of japan sovled another murder aided by an unsolicited suspect confession. Concur with brainiac, seek help elsewhere.

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Good to see the local cops keeping up their high standards (not).

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The NPA arrests anyone accused of groping on a train yet ignores pleas from a woman being stalked. MAKES SENSE TO ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Sad as it is, its very true. You're better off dealing with the situation yourself, then involving the J-cops.

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Japanese men need a good lesson in the art of accepting rejection from the opposite sex and that they are not little princes who the whole world revolves around; something they should have learnt as children from their parents.

Christ, if I had murdered every woman that had rejected my sexual overtures, I would now be one of the world's most proficent serial killers.

Bad upbringing doth a bad adult make.

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I'm beginning to think that if you are being stalked in this country, you'd be better off enlisting the aid of some friends or hiring a specialist to deal with the stalker permanently.

The police can be helpful, but they are no one's personal bodyguard. Stalking, fighting, threats, whatever all you are guaranteed is that the police will write a report. Adults have to take of their own problems for the most part.

And hind sight is 20/20 in this. Of all the stalking case the police hear about, there was probably no special reason to think this one would end in murder.

Once again, the keystone cops of japan sovled another murder aided by an unsolicited suspect confession.

The woman left her home at 9 pm to see a movie. The confession was the morning of the following day. Did you expect the police to all have ESP fits in the night, wake up, and go grab the perp???

--Cirroc

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To CavemanLawyer:

Tell me how a 24yo woman shall deal with this situation! If you know the answer, please tell it to her parents. In this situation a young persons life could have been safed if the cops were not that lazy.

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CavemanLawyer. If a report of a stalker is made, the police should do something about it. In this case they didn't and a girl ended up dead.

Sure she should have taken matters in hand. But seems to me she did. She notified the authorities of a threat that they choose to ignore.

I have been on the victim end of having a psycho stalker. During the interview I received several threatening emails from the psycho girl and showed him. She also called nearly a dozen times in the 1hr time I was in the police station.

The idiot cop was laughing and asking me is she was cute. Talking to him was useless. Only after Ichikawa already had one dead foreigner on their hands when the poor English girl was murdered, did I manage to get them to do anything.

They had the girls phone number, address and all details but failed to act on it until another murder made them worry about bad press.

Cops here are useless on a scale that defies words. And the legal system is 100% dependent upon confession (real or forced) to solve any crimes at all. Japan had better pray that real crime doesn't come here because nothing here will be able to stop it.

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I feel so sad for her, and all her family and friends.

When I used to spend time living and working in Okayama, I never considered anything like this could happen.

It's really just so sad.

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Tell me how a 24yo woman shall deal with this situation! If you know the answer, please tell it to her parents. In this situation a young persons life could have been safed if the cops were not that lazy.

There are lot of self defense products that she could of carried with her if she thought that there was an imminent threat to her physically.

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I have been on the victim end of having a psycho stalker. During the interview I received several threatening emails from the psycho girl and showed him. She also called nearly a dozen times in the 1hr time I was in the police station

So tkoind2 How did the girl get your number in the first place?

Moderator: Stay on topic please. The subject is the Okayama case.

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You must get killed first before cops will believe your story. This stalker shouldbe haunted down immediarely, to prevent murder. 'COPS SENSIBILIA IF ANY?'

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DJJapan. Stalkers are not always strangers. More often than not they are known people. This girl clearly knew her stalker and took steps to report it. Like I did. But the cops just didn't act on the information.

As for all this nonsense about self protection. Let's face it, in the hands of someone who has no clue how to use defensive devices, they often end up having them used on them instead. Not everyone is Ramboesque. That is why we have police forces, to enforce the law and to protect the average unarmed and untrained citizen.

This kind of wild west Americanized we should be packing self defence weapons is not only ill informed, but dangerous in most cases.

The police should have taken her report seriously and pursued action to address her problem. They have her blood on their hands as much as the killer does.

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The cops here cannot be bothered with stalkers.I had a frantic mail from a female acquaintance sayiong that she thought she was going to die.I went to the koban and then had them basically laugh at me because I didn't know here home address and surname.It turns out the guy had chased her into a public toilet in which she locked herself the whole night,afraid to come out.Vigilante justice may be the best way to solve problems in this country.According to the police they cannot easily track emails and email addresses. (unless the perp is a foreigner,no doubt)

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The police should have taken her report seriously and pursued action to address her problem

Which is?

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The police, like the government are comfortable in the fact that they will not really be held accountable for things that happen here. They can apologize and defer the issue until the public forgets.

What Japan REALLY NEEDs is for the public to demand accountability from all branches of the state. For police this means firing local department heads and cops who make this kind of poor judgement. Training cops to do their jobs and not just give directions. And getting rid of this nonsense about being technologically inept and giving cops the tools they need to get things done.

The Japanese public can blame themselves for much of what is wrong here, because very few do anything to demand change. Even when something as obvious as this oversight happens.

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Tell me how a 24yo woman shall deal with this situation! If you know the answer, please tell it to her parents.

She could have moved. She also could have worked more to make sure she was with another person as much as possible, such as get a boyfriend who will come pick her up. She could have informed neighbors if this guy was hanging around her place a lot. They could have helped. God knows I would have.

As it is she went alone at night apparently unarmed. Seems like she did not take that stalking all that seriously herself. But you expect the police to take some action? What action? Arrested is a temporary situation. So is jail. Either might have cooled the guy out. Or maybe not. There is only so much the police can do.

OK. So I told you. So how about you tell the parents?

I feel sorry for this woman and anyone who has to deal with a stalker. But probably less than one percent end in murder. The police have other things to do. Even if they cut the crap, like bicycle stops, they still won't be able to prevent this. So protect yourself. Even if the cops really care, they lack the time and the resources to treat every stalking case like a potential murder. And its not my fault, I am just the messenger. --Cirroc

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If a report of a stalker is made, the police should do something about it. In this case they didn't and a girl ended up dead.

How do you know they did nothing? And why do you think they should have done something? Are you sure that the level of stalking reported required immediate action? On hindsight? What do you know that we don't?

If the woman was really in fear of her life, I would think she would stay home at night. If she did not report properly to the police, you cannot expect them to predict her death.

For all you know, they may have talked to the guy and told him to stop stalking. And that might have made him angrier. Who knows? There is no perfect solution that the cops can just fetch out of a manual. There is no crystal ball to tell us who will die.

And I will bet they get plenty of bogus stalking reports too. Think of all the drama queens you have met in your life. On unwanted mail a week and they will claim they are being stalked. How are the cops supposed to know who is for real and who is just an attention hog? --Cirroc

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Actually, CavemanLawyer, she could have done the following according the anti-stalking law.

A. File Charges B. Request the Police to issue a warning to that individual. C. Request assistance (referral to the local anti-stalking organization, hand out self defense kits, safety tips on how to handle the situation)

http://www.npa.go.jp/safetylife/stalkerlaw/stalkerchart.pdf

According to this article, she phoned in her complaint and the police did ask her to come to the police station but did not.

http://sankei.jp.msn.com/affairs/crime/080929/crm0809292102024-n1.htm 杉本さんから電話相談を受けたことについて県警は「相談があったのは1回だけだった。『一度、署にきてほしい』と伝えていたが残念ながら来てもらえなかった。対処としては適切だったと思う」としている。

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How do you know they did nothing? And why do you think they should have done something? Are you sure that the level of stalking reported required immediate action? On hindsight? What do you know that we don't?

Maybe he can read and understand Japanese and although the police haven't yet commented on what action was taken, some of the her friends said on the news last night and in today's papers that the murdered woman had told them that the police had not taken any action and the stalking was still continuing.

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To continue, I believe there is a remedy in place for these stalkers but it's sometimes the victims who does not seek the full extent of the law.

Unless of course, one expects the police to be mind readers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MinorityReport(film)

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I would give him life in prison, the end. No early release. When his heart stops he will get out. And my sentence would be the same no matter the detail of whether she could have done more to save herself or not.

I am saying, for the sake of anyone now who is being stalked or will be, that the police can only do so much. There is likely a lot this woman could have done to save herself, and the living should take heed. Pointing that out takes not one, not one iota of responsibility for the crime off the perp. So I am not blaming the victim.

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Thank you nigelboy for all that excellent and helpful information. --Cirroc

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I love the charge of "abandoning a corpse". It is so much nicer if you keep the corpse close to you after murdering them.

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Once again, more excellent work by the JCops. Just like standing around "guarding" ATMs, handing out pamphlets after a little girl is murdered in Chiba, and warning schoolkids that a foreigner is in the neighbourhood, the JCops have shown that they are at the cutting edge of law enforcment (even if that means beating a confession out of suspects), and I, for one, am sleeping a hell of a lot better knowing they are out there.

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Yeah, corpse abandonment is a weird law:

"Article 219 (Death through Abandonment): A person who commits a crime...and thereby kills or injures another shall be subject to the punishments provided for the crimes of bodily injury if they be graver."

I guess they want to cover all the bases.

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How do you know they did nothing? And why do you think they should have done something? Are you sure that the level of stalking reported required immediate action? On hindsight? What do you know that we don't?

There you go, it's English for you now.

You should learn a bit of Japanese. Excluding the political topics, both because of nuance and special vocabulary, the news in Japanese isn't that difficult to pick up with a little study, same theme and same vocabulary, and it will give you a little more authority when your challenge someone's facts concerning what or what hasn't been said by the concerned Japanese authorities.

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Sad! At least the cops have got this freak (by confession, of course). Too bad they didn't do anything before she was killed.

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it will give you a little more authority when your challenge someone's facts concerning what or what hasn't been said by the concerned Japanese authorities.

I have not got a clue what you are talking about. What facts have I challenged and how was I lacking in authority when I did so? It seems to me I have been right from the start. It is not the cops' fault this happened, and the woman failed to take steps to protect herself, including properly reporting the stalking to the police.

A bunch of people here just thought they had an easy swipe at the cops. I do not like the cops any more than anybody else, probably less. But I will only swipe at them when they deserve it, and that is often enough. No need to grasp at a straw like this. --Cirroc

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...and right on cue, the J-Police did absolutely nothing.....and now a woman is dead. Makes me feel all safe and cozy, living herei n japan, knowing that Japan's "finest" is on the job, doingt heir utmost to stop criminals from committing horrendous crimes, such as this one. I'm so confident of the police and their ability to protect me and my family, that I'm very tempted to buy a .3030 pump action for use in home defense....

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I like how CavemanLawtyer and nigelboy are basically blaming the woman for getting murdered, because she apparently "didn't do enough" to protect herself. She told the police and her friends: what else should she have done? Blaming the vicitm is pretty-low class...

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The fact that so many posters consider the vigilante alternative is a worry. The Japanese police are in an amazing class all of there own. About as useful as tits on a bull. Everyone knows that. They hunt down misdemeanors with ruthless efficiency and shy away from the real problems of serious crime, even serious road crime, because it's 'stressful.' And they're just plain old scared.

Blaming victims is cowardly, but the issue is this; the morons in blue: And the only way to change anything is by political intervention. Otherwise they'll do as they've always done, try not to get too involved and hunt down bicycle thefts to keep the stats lookin' good.

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geez, please give these guys some credit. She could have informed herself more on the laws of her country on stalking if she hadn't already. Everyone knows even in our own respective countries that unless the perp really did something the police are useless. Perhaps she knew her laws and chose another option liek waiting. It amazes me how many women will wait, For what??? till the jerk settles down. Most likely that never happens and now shes dead. Sad situation. Ignorance is not bliss.

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Blue_Tiger; Very few weapons that are pump action rifles.... If you want pump, consider shotguns...

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A woman whose corpse was found floating in a harbor near here had consulted police concerning a male acquaintance she said was stalking her and threatening her with murder, police revealed Tuesday

Seems she told the police he is saying he is going to kill me, this would be more then just this guy is following me. They should of pulled the guy in and talked to him, sometimes that is enough to scare them from doing something stupid. But to ignore the complaint and not question the perp gives him a free pass to complete what he said he was going to do...

KitsuneYoukai.. actually in America its called 5th degree assualt when you threaten physical injury to another person and you can be jailed for it.. Ignorance is the lack of knowledge and that doesnt have anything to do with this. When she called the police they should of told her the options, its not her job to know the laws its the police officers job.

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Okayama, a small city but we have just seen stories about people getting pushed in front of trains and now this. Anyone who has had the misfortune of spending more than a few days there would agree that it is a really weird place. A very uptight atmosphere with a distinct lack of communtiy spirit. Man, I love living in Osaka.

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Blue Tiger

I like how CavemanLawtyer and nigelboy are basically blaming the woman for getting murdered, because she apparently "didn't do enough" to protect herself. She told the police and her friends: what else should she have done? Blaming the vicitm is pretty-low class...

Both of these posters have very clearly indicated they are not blaming the woman for getting herself killed. The blame is clearly on the authorities shoulders for not doing more. However, there is a lot more she could have done. If someone threatened to kill you, would you go on with your normal life after notifying a police force that is known to be as inept as the Jcops? A little imagination and self preservation concerns may have given her a chance. And to again reiterate, this woman was the victim and not to be blamed.

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to all the people calling the cops inept, usually you'd be right but in this case they offered to patrol her building and speak with the stalker but she declined because she was embarrassed what the neighbours would think, this is how the story has been reported in Japanese media today. JT version makes for more inflammatory reading

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Useless cops... too busy standing next to an ATM machine that actually doing work.

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love having Caveman Lawyer in here to put all the whiners int their proper place. Cops in ANY country have very little to act on with stalkers. They usually have to catch the perp in the act. In Canada I once had guys trying to break into my house while I was in it. I got in my car and chased them and got their plate number. I gave it to the cops but they couldn't do ANYTHING. They said they had to catch them in the act, same goes with stalkers in most cases.

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I like how CavemanLawtyer and nigelboy are basically blaming the woman for getting murdered, because she apparently "didn't do enough" to protect herself. She told the police and her friends: what else should she have done? Blaming the vicitm is pretty-low class...

Did you bother to read the available options she could of chose under the Stalking law? My guess is that you didn't because you couldn't. Lame as usual from Blue Tiger.

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I went to that link nigelboy and it was all japanese, without an english option (that I could see). Anything in English? thx

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Sorry pizzaboy. No link in English

But to summarize, the victim had three options which I indicated on my previoust post. If the victim does not choose these options, there is nothing the police can do under the law.

The article in Sankei indicated that she phoned in her complaint and the police urged her to come the police station but she refused.

The article in Yomiuri also went further to state that the police advised her to choose option B which is for her to request that the police issue a warning to the harraser. She refused citing that she would be embarrsed of what the neighbors would think.

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After reading the J link and the Asahi news, what nigelboy says is true. But that doesn't excuse the Keystones proclivity for the easier option of staying out of the matter. There's the rub... Basically they just didn't really want to know and that same tone was implied in the NHK news.

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Good stuff from Nigelboy.

And BlueTiger, pointing out the woman's options is not the same as blaming her.

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Most guys in posted that the women should do something. As a women, I wouldnt know what I would do in the situation. I would tell the people around me be wary of my surrounding but beyond that i do not know what one should do. I know its rather pointless to start taking up karate lessons. And even having a knife with me all the time..i dont think i would be able to move ( being scared s*less) if the guy came up to me with a crowbar. I would like to hear some suggestion to a women like me who is used to be in security net.

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I guess the Japanese government feels it's morally superior to have a dead woman, than to have a dead murderer by not allowing women to defend themselves with firearms.

Advice: Never bring an unarmed woman to a blunt instrument fight.

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Why should you have to defend yourself? Your taxes pay the police and they clearly are incapable. That's the crux of the matter. They have to be pressured to do things and I doubt very much that they did little more than pay lip service in this case to the now deceased. A total bloody failure as a police force... My advice is live your life the way you've been used to living it. Stories like this shouldn't make you want to carry a knife. A whistle would be a far better idea. I also surmise that she felt that and decided not to ask for surveillance. I know this may well not be true but the Japanese police are incompetent, lazy and look for easy options every time.

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As a women, I wouldnt know what I would do in the situation.

Please read the thread carefully. Plenty of suggestions there. It is not about confrontation (from you anyway) it is about avoidance. Moving house is an option. And to that naysayers out there, I am not saying a woman should have to, I am saying that, realistically, it is an effective option.

Naturally, going out at 9 p.m. all alone is a bad idea. In a perfect world, it would not be like that. But the only perfect world I ever saw was when my eyes were closed. I believe many in this thread have their eyes closed right now. --Cirroc

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love having Caveman Lawyer in here to put all the whiners int their proper place.

Much appreciated pizzaboy, and your post was very informative on the way things work in the real world. If the cops acted on tips from civilians alone, they would get even more hell from the public. People want it both ways. --Cirroc

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Thx for the advises. For a women whos life is treaten and aware she is being stalked, i do find it weird that she went to watch movie. Whats the name of the movie that possess her to brave the streets? Ironman?

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Whatever, but please do not buy a knife nor any other weapon.

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nutsagain, so the woman should just lay back and let her attacker just enjoy whatever physical advantage he has over her?

My friend... That's exactly what happened and it didn't turn out very well for the woman.

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nutsagain, so the woman should just lay back and let her attacker just enjoy whatever physical advantage he has over her?

Friends, its a hard call. Both ways have potential problems. Brandishing a knife might allow an escape. Or it might wind up in her sternum even though the creep had no weapon himself and originally had no intent to do such harm. Not being armed could get her raped or beaten but still alive. No magic bullets here.

More than a knife or other weapon, I would suggest leaving the high heels in the closet and purchasing a good pair of running shoes to wear everyday until the stalking stops. --Cirroc

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USARonin: Absurd comment. Read my earleir posts as I suggest alternatives such as a loud whistle. Stand your ground, huh? Just what the world needs, another macho tough guy.

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nutsagain: "Just what the world needs, another macho tough guy."

A whistle against a determined attacker with rape and/or lethality on his mind, nutsagain?

"I see", said the blind man... but he really didn't see at all.

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OK, let's just say carrying a lethal weapon perpetuates the cycle of violence. There are non- lethal alternatives available; bear spray or tasers. Whistles have proven pretty effective. A gun free culture is one of the only reasons I stay here. Yeah, that's changing I know... No personal offense intended.

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They cannot get enough of firin' weapons.

Sounds like a good reason to keep them illegal. Last thing we want is a passel of folks wandering the streets carrying guns and wanting to use them.

Ronin, I understand your argument about the woman would have been able to shoot her attack if she had had a gun. But aren't you forgetting the fact that if she could get a gun legally, so could he?

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stalking is always a tricky situation, because there is only a percieved threat at that point. POlice screw up all the time like anyone in any other profession. I am sure there are some police here in Japan who are very dedicated to thier job, and do all they can within a flawed system, and that there are also a larger bunch of wusses who just want a pay check and a badge to flash around. Police have helped me in the past with very little information, in saving a friend in anoter city from killing herself. They got there just in time, and it wasn't easy to find her. But, that said, it was due to my, and my japanese friends persistence in trying to MAKE them help. We had to find the address to find her through other means. Persistence was the key, if you really want something done, you will get it done. If you shrug your shoulders and give up at the first obstacle, then there is little you or anyone else can do to help you. UNfortunately, men stalk women the world over, no more here than anywhere else. Everyone should be aware that the world is not a safe place these days, and take steps to keep your situation safe, through awareness, and prevention. My GF had a problem with a stalker, and the police did very little, but they did do what wasin thier power, and gave sound advice. I was all for heading out with her brothers to pay him a visit, but it would have made criminals out of us. I don't see any easy solutions to the stalking situation, except look out for yourself and your friends at all times. That includes if your friend is acting obsessively, have a word in thier ear. The blame can only eventually lie with the Murderer, and to some extent, with his friends and family for not stepping in, educating him, or getting help for him. Thats the neverending problem in Japan, fear of asking for help. Its a societal learning curve in Japan that hopefully won't take too long to straighten out, although I'm not holding my breath.

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notimpressed: Good points, as were Cleo's. There seems to be a tragedy here and it's as much to do with nomenclature as much as events themselves. What do we call an 18 year old following my wife around some years ago, which did actually happen? The guy kept it up every Friday and one time she had the good grace and good sense to stop then walked back to talk with him softly.

It turned out the kid was hopelessly infatuated with her and was acutely embarrassed to find out that she was much older than he'd thought and moreover married. I've always admired her good sense in these matters. God only knows what some posters here would have done to this lad who is no doubt, a father and married himself living happily somewhere now.

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While I agree with the general 'j-cops are useless' sentiment of this thread, I should point out that police forces around the world have similar problems. Can you name a police force that has the time and resources needed to deal with stalkers? The police can't give every stalking victim round-the-clock protection and that's the only thing that would really help. Warnings and restraining orders have little effect on a deranged person.

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rurika, I don't know about your "j-cops are useless" statement bein' accurate, but you do infer that somewhere in the equation individuals must take some kind of responsibility for their own protection.

I suggest... an offensive weapon.

The horror.

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In the USA communicating a threat of murder is a crime in all 50 states, but then we have real police, not just old cosplay geezers in uniforms.

In this woman's mind calling the police was the right thing to do and I'm sure she felt they would do something about the man stalking and threatening her. So, you can say she did take some responsibility for protecting herself. It is the police, whose job it is to protect the public, that failed miserably!

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In the USA communicating a threat of murder is a crime in all 50 states, but then we have real police, not just old cosplay geezers in uniforms.

Could you tell us where you heard about this threat of murder and when it was properly relayed to police?

I didn't think so. Thanks for playing! --Cirroc

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--Cirroc <-- get over yourself , stop acting like you own every comment!

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actually Laywer its called 5th degree assult and it is a threat to commit bodily harm and you can be arrested for it.

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Fifth Degree Assault

Fifth Degree Assault

A fifth degree assault is a misdemeanor if it is a first offense punishable by up to a 90 days in jail and/or a $1000 fine. A fifth degree assault may be charged if a person

commits an act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another. A second offense on the same victim within five years following discharge from the sentence on the first offense may be charged with a gross misdemeanor and may be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than one year and to payment of a fine of not more than $3,000.

If convicted of a second fifth degree assault after August 1, 1992, that person may no longer own or possess a pistol. Any person who possesses a pistol in violation of this paragraph is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

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