COVID-19 INFORMATION What you need to know about the coronavirus if you are living in Japan or planning a visit.
crime

Zushi City ordered to pay compensation to man whose wife was killed by stalker

65 Comments

The husband of a 33-year-old woman who was murdered by her former boyfriend in 2012, was awarded compensation of 1.1 million yen Monday by the Yokosuka branch of the Yokohama District Court after he filed a suit against the Zushi city government for giving out information on his wife's address to a private detective who then gave it to the killer.

The 47-year-old husband of Rie Miyoshi filed a suit for 11 million yen in October 2016 because he said the city government was careless in leaking information that led to his wife’s murder, Fuji TV reported.

In the high-profile case, Hideto Kozutsumi, 40, murdered Miyoshi -- his former girlfriend -- at her home in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, in November 2012.

Kozutsumi had tracked her down by using the services of a private detective. The detective found out Miyoshi’s full name and address by calling the taxation department at city hall, and impersonated her husband. He then gave the information to Kozutsumi.

The private detective, Hirotoshi Kohama, 61, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, suspended for five years, in January 2015.

When Miyoshi's husband filed the suit, the city argued that the person who took the call was not aware the caller was an impostor, nor could the employee know that giving the information would result in Miyoshi being murdered.

Kozutsumi was first arrested in Kanagawa Prefecture in 2011 on charges of stalking and harassing Miyoshi, after he repeatedly threatened to kill her in a series of emails following the pair's split. The pair dated between 2004 and 2006.

While Kozutsumi was being charged, an officer read out an arrest warrant that included Miyoshi's new name and partial address. The police officer who read out the arrest warrant was required to do so under the law but was later reprimanded for not keeping Miyoshi's married name and address confidential.

Kozutsumi received a suspended sentence and began pursuing Miyoshi again by email in 2012, but without making threats, reports said. Kozutsumi could only send emails because Miyoshi had married another man, taking his name, and moved to a different city.

Police said that Miyoshi had asked the municipal government in Zushi to keep information on her new address and name strictly confidential. According to police, Miyoshi's file had a viewing restriction code that lit up when accessed. This meant that special precaution must be taken before divulging any personal details about the subject.

Kozutsumi then started posting on an online message board, asking for information about Miyoshi's husband, saying he was a friend who wanted to keep in touch. But when that was unsuccessful, he hired Kohama, giving him the partial address and name that he had learned from the police.

Kohama gave Kozutsumi the information on Nov 5, 2012. The next day, Kozutsumi stabbed Miyoshi to death at her apartment at around 3 p.m. and then hanged himself from the balcony of the 2nd-story apartment. Miyoshi's husband was at work when the murder was committed.

A search of Miyoshi's cell phone turned up over 1,000 emails sent from Kozutsumi over the course of two weeks prior to the murder. The content of the emails, which police said was largely the same, referred to a contract that Miyoshi breached when she married another man. Kozutsumi also demanded monetary compensation for the breach of contract.

After the murder, police came under heavy criticism for their handling of the case. Miyoshi had asked police to re-arrest Kozutsumi, but officers said there was nothing they could do because at that time harassment by email was not a crime and because the wording did not contain any threats, referring to a "breach of contract," instead.

The case led to antistalking law being strengthened to include repeated sending of unwanted emails as stalking behaviour

© Japan Today

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

65 Comments
Login to comment

1.1 million yen? That's so low. We are talking $10,000 here.

35 ( +37 / -2 )

When Miyoshi's husband filed the suit, the city argued that the person who took the call was not aware the caller was an impostor, nor could the employee know that giving the information would result in Miyoshi being murdered.

First off the award of 1.1 million is ludicrously low for the life of this young woman. Secondly, this defense, aware or otherwise should have NEVER given out personal information.

The folks who work in the city offices around this country, at least the komuin, live in a bubble that needs to be burst! These people work FOR the people, yet they act as if they are above the law!

29 ( +33 / -4 )

But in the article it stated that Miyoshi had asked that her information be restricted and that whenever someone asked for it, it would be flagged. So, why did the city hall person so readily give it out? This award is a crime in itself. The husband should get 10 or even 10 times that award.

26 ( +28 / -2 )

Shamefully low compensation.

Japan can be lax on security regarding personal information compared to other places I have been.

Often in companies people’s names and addresses are posted up. I have had people (as a kind gesture) pick up my prescription pills for me because the pharmacist knew we were in the same company. Or my address given out to many many people without my knowledge for year end card stuff.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

I just don't get it. How can he enjoy the money, it's blood money that his wife had to die for.

What is Japan's obsession with financial pay offs? It seems that money can make any problem go away in this country. Now that's shameful....

-35 ( +7 / -42 )

Japan, treating its own people with contempt, as usual. First the govt & police HIGHLY contributed to this woman's murder!!

And now they spit on the bereaved husband in the aftermath with an utterly pathetic amount of "compensation"

Disgusting all round, still after so so many mistakes!

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Jeez, talk about a slap in the face. 1.1 millions yen? What a joke! I really feel for her husband, poor guy lost his wife, and probably his life too.

Have some compassion people, it's not hard!

12 ( +15 / -3 )

The folks who work in the city offices around this country, at least the komuin, live in a bubble that needs to be burst! 

@Yubaru I couldn't agree more. People in Japan live in too many "safety" bubbles and they always act like Japan is the ultimate safe place on this planet with almost no crime committed and almost always acting surprised when they hear or read these kind of stories. Like wtf, wake up already I read articles on daily basis and there is so much crime being reported on in the newspapers, I can imagine how much more goes unreported for the sake of preserving the "safety bubble".

0 ( +4 / -4 )

1.1 million = the price of a life

A small $10,000 fine for giving out information that led to a murder. Police blunder of saying out loud her new name and partial address.

Life is cheap, it seems, to Japan's civil service and judicial sector.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Another example of how backward Japan is.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

How stupid can one be? First, why would a HUSBAND be asking for HIS wife's address. Second, if I had received that call, why would I give her address to her husband? If a husband doesn't know his own wife's address, there would have to be a good reason for it. Should have just refused and contacted her and perhaps proper authorities.

20 ( +22 / -2 )

I can imagine how much more goes unreported for the sake of preserving the "safety bubble".

I know from experience that there is an uncountable number of crimes committed that NEVER get reported, and other extraordinarily minor or petty one's that are reported.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

I just don't get it. How can he enjoy the money, it's blood money that his wife had to die for.

Where does it say ANYWHERE that he will "enjoy" the money? Just how would YOU compensate him for his loss due to the ignorant negligence of a city employee? I suppose you would lock everyone up.

What is Japan's obsession with financial pay offs? It seems that money can make any problem go away in this country. Now that's shameful....

Gimmie a break, Japan's system pay off's are a pittance. Why do you think it's shameful? Because you aren't getting your cut? You have much to learn about Japan if you ask this question!

11 ( +15 / -4 )

Geoff GillespieToday  07:36 am JST

I just don't get it. How can he enjoy the money, it's blood money that his wife had to die for.

How dare you judge? What do you know of his situation, or his plans for the money? If you don't know anything, wait and find out, instead of making such offensive comments.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

The folks who work in the city offices around this country, at least the komuin, live in a bubble that needs to be burst! These people work FOR the people, yet they act as if they are above the law!

Public officials are the same the world over.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@ Geoff GillespieToday  07:36 am JST

I see your point, but perhaps he wanted to raise the privacy issue. Not let it slide by, and by having done so we see another shameful aspect, the lip service judicial system. Why should any of them just skate on by.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Geoff Gillespie

I think the problem is that you just aren’t getting it (as you yourself stated).

Your statement had little to do with what was written in the article and your assumptions seem to be about another country, not here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

wake up already I read articles on daily basis and there is so much crime being reported on in the newspapers, I can imagine how much more goes unreported for the sake of preserving the "safety bubble".

This is a national news site, reporting the events of a country of 130 million people. Of course there is something every day, but to try to determine the actual crime rates of a country based on the number of news articles read, is opening yourself up to being very, very wrong about the assumptions you make.

The fact is Japan is an extremely safe country, one of the safest in the world, with very low crime rates. The articles we read here are sad, and it would be great if we could live in a Utopian society with no crime, but unfortunately such a place does not exist at the moment. Japan is pretty much the next best thing.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

A travesty.

"When Miyoshi's husband filed the suit, the city argued that the person who took the call was not aware the caller was an impostor, nor could the employee know that giving the information would result in Miyoshi being murdered."

Ignorance is no excuse.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

When Miyoshi's husband filed the suit, the city argued that the person who took the call was not aware the caller was an impostor, nor could the employee know that giving the information would result in Miyoshi being murdered.

That's not an argument but incompetence and negligence.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

one million yen is nothing in comparison to the man's loss. He should have received 100 times as much. And the private detective should have received 5 years in jail.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

And the private detective should have received 5 years in jail.

Double that, and I'll give you a thumb's up.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Well it’s clear to see that the Judicial system here is far from independent and impartial! The award given clearly indicates that the Judiciary did not want to set a precedent of a higher payout from the government run city lest they receive more compensation claims. The husband really should take this to a higher court with far more media exposure. However I fear and suspect that both the media and Judiciary are under the “influence” of government. The J Government certainly has its folk neatly tied up in a self serving package. I can’t help wondering if the Cohen brothers got their core idea for the Matrix from looking at Japan!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

What a terrible series of events. This story just ruined my morning.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

How gullible the city hall staff could be. The PI posed as her husband but it doesn't occurred to them that why would her husband ask for her contact details unless the person might be a poser. And even if we give them a benefit of a doubt that maybe they were separated, if her info is being flagged, wouldn't it make sense for them to check with her first to verify the person before they could give out such a vital information? And USD10K for their severe imcompetency, to me, is an insult.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The private detective, Hirotoshi Kohama, 61, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, suspended for five years, in January 2015. So being involved actively in a murder is pretty much ok. Now that's clear.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

So many lessons to be learnt here. It sounds like recognition of stalking through e-mail has already happened. The guy was clearly a risk to the woman but the police could do nothing to stop him.

On the issue of confidentiality, I read once that if the famous hacker Kevin Mitnick needed as password, he would ringing up pretending to be maintenance staff and then just ask a secretary or other underling for it. Apparently he had a lot of success with this method. Key management, the human angle, is known as a massive weakness in security systems. People need to be trained. You shouldn't just hope for the best.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As others have commented, why would a husband be asking for his wife's address? That should have been caught. I imagine the employee who gave out the information is pretty devastated. It should be the rule that if information is restricted, the person who requested that it be restricted should be contacted immediately before any information is given out.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

many of you are too focused on the financial penalty. who cares if it was 1 million or 100 million. neither amount will bring this man's wife back. and a higher punitive amount would serve what purpose? it would be the taxpayer's money that would be used to pay  the penalty. is that really a good use of taxpayer's money? i'm sure the man just wanted a moral victory against the city for their "carelessness."

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The compensation is pathetic, but what I want to know is if the city worker was fired or not. They most definitely should have been. And that is the only action that will prevent it from happening again - as nakanoguy has mentioned the money will come from the government, so the person who screwed up won't feel any personal punishment for that, and therefore it won't be a deterrent for others.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Terrible failure by police and bureaucrats. Ladies be careful! I might say you should even avoid registering at city hall or use fake address of friend (if possible) rather than try to reform such a crap system. Sad.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

In his press conference, the husband stated he thought the awarded amount was sufficient to send the message to local officials that they should be more careful regarding giving out private information.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

A human life is worth 1M yen? That's only about 10K US. Unbelievable. And Zushi City's argument was pathetic. So are anti-stalking laws here in general.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I wonder if the city hall employee was punished or fired? If I gave my company's confidential information out over the phone and it led to some disaster like this I am pretty sure I would be justly fired.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In his press conference, the husband stated he thought the awarded amount was sufficient to send the message to local officials that they should be more careful regarding giving out private information.

Pretty magnanimous fellow.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What is Japan's obsession with financial pay offs? It seems that money can make any problem go away in this country. Now that's shameful.... well how else do you get compensated! you cant adopt another wife or bring her back to life! The companies / departments need to be punished and the best way for that is imprison those responsible or fine them heavily otherwise they'll just keep doing it without any worries of repercussions.

If woman was the main money earner of the family shed have approximately 40yrs of wages that cannot be earned for the family anymore, probably around 150~200million yen, then youve got the lawyer fees for this case over 5yrs I hate to even calculate that. This isnt even taking into consideration the mental/emotional anguish of a family member being murdered. Money doent grow on trees. So as you can see 1.1million yen compensation if F insulting!

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Won't even cover funeral expenses.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

To the people complaining about the compensation being too low.. where do you think this money comes from? Some magical money tree?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

1.1 Million Yen? Change the Yen into USD then we're talking

2 ( +3 / -1 )

My god, practically every paragraph has a WTF moment, and yes, Tom, that includes the peanuts that the husband received. Every single action in the article beggars belief.

I wonder how those Christians who pounced on every newcomer to Japan found out about your address before they came knocking on your doors, and whether they still do that.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

My God. Such a tragic story, almost unbelievable. RIP.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

1.1 million yen? What a joke!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

PATHETIC! Hope the poor guy apeals.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Awful story. Private detective work should be outlawed unless they are used for legal reasons. Such as tracing someone not paying maintenance money, or regarding a crime committed. A private detective working for any old nutjob should be illegal. And the private detective should have received a custodial sentence, especially for impersonating another man to retrieve highly confidential information.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

where do you think this money comes from? Some magical money tree?

in this case the tax payer will pay, but if it was a private company theyll have to pay out of their profits.

The whole point is that laws were broken a person died because of that, if no substantial punishment is handed down then laws will continue to be broken and people harmed. people who complain about monetary compensation as being immoral, imagine if you lost your father by some negligence who was the main money earner....what next "oh too bad the rest of the family will just have to find jobs, mum will have to work 2~3 jobs more to support the kids" and the company/people responsible directly or indirectly can just pay a fraction of the funeral bill, WTF!! Monetary compensation is to take away the financial stresses of losing a loved one as theyll clearly will have many years of emotional stress from the loss.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

To the people complaining about the compensation being too low.. where do you think this money comes from? Some magical money tree?

If your business breaks the law resulting in someones death, then you should expect to pay millions. Dollars not Yen. Its a city tax office - the government have access to billions of dollars of tax revenue and they essentially bare the overall responsibility for one of their offices getting this wrong.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The private detective, Hirotoshi Kohama, 61, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison, suspended for five years, in January 2015.

i wanted to hire one recently, but this story sounds like they are scum. Suspended sentence?

1.1million is a disgrace.

my jaywalking prosecution was on local tv, giving info about my name, age, job, address, income etc. it happened last year, but still meet local people who know all about me.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This really brings tears to my eyes as I can totally rely on this story.

1) The Police and Zushi City staff should be punish for their incompetence that leads to a murder.

1.1 milion yens is an insult to the tragedy that occured because they indirectly murdered the woman.

How come you give personnal info over the phone?? Even if the person introduced as a member of family?? If the person concerned is still alive and didn't communicate his/her info, respect that! That is soooo unbelievable!  

2) About the low rate if crime in Japan

This is totally BS. If you believe it, you live in a bubble. In Japan, they don't count "crime" as we do in the West. Here, rape until recently was a crime but just an offence! Result of this, the sentence could be more important for a robbery than a rape ...

And I doubt police actually register all complains. Especially stalking ones. I went 3 times to complain about my stalker, they never did absolutely nothing. They even dared to tell me , he could have a twin, he may not be the same person!!! ( the guy is from an african country and we spoke french...) What are u supposed to reply to that??? Do you think my complain will be taken into account when publishing crime / offense rate??

So I decided to move out rapidly from my place.

Better be safe than sorry!

But the thing is , this woman did the same, she moved out, changed her name and still could be murdered because the police didn't protect her, and the Zushi City staff just sold her to her murder!

Shame on them!!!!

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The city and the police department FAILED this woman. Since when is cyberstalking OK and not a crime? The creep was harassing her all the time and the police did NOTHING to stop or even question the killer's obsessive behavior. Their purpose is to serve and protect and they failed with this lady. The widower should've got more moolah because of their carelessness, neglect and stupidity. Even though all those yen ain't going to bring this man's better half back. Very sad.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Rick RuinToday  11:51 am JST

To the people complaining about the compensation being too low.. where do you think this money comes from? Some magical money tree?

Maybe they won't be able to repair the same road for the 15th consecutive year...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is totally BS. If you believe it, you live in a bubble. In Japan, they don't count "crime" as we do in the West.

You're saying that actual numbers don't matter. Ok, so we should just make some up then and use those as the crime stats for Japan?

Sorry, but that's just ridiculous. There are stats, and they give us a basis to work from to determine crime levels. Other countries also have unreported crimes, it's not just Japan.

The fact is, Japan is one of the safest countries on the planet. Japan-haters can try to pretend it isn't, but reality and the facts show otherwise.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

All readers back on topic please. Posts that do not focus on the story will be removed.

Value of life in Japan = 1.1 m yen.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Nakanoguy

Theres a good reason people are focused on compensation. The lack of compensation in this story what makes this nightmare into a scandal as well.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This is so sad, Only 1.1m yen?, what an awful private detective, the japanese justice system is so corrupt, do you think money comes from trees?, these beurocrats should be in Jail, I hope this guy get 100 million yen, This is blood money.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@YubaruToday 07:12 am JST

First off the award of 1.1 million is ludicrously low for the life of this young woman. Secondly, this defense, aware or otherwise should have NEVER given out personal information.

Yes, it is a breach of regulation, thus the court ruled in the family's favor. On the other hand, if we say the clerk involved genuinely believed that it was her husband, how exigible is it really that he bent the rules to make a convenience? We all know how irritating it is to deal with bureaucrats who play completely by the book, especially if the book recommends obstructionism.

Further, how exigible is he for not foreseeing that this data leak would lead to a death?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Ridiculous!!! Should have been 100,000,000 minimum! And the city worker that gave out the information should have been fired. It's no excuse to say they didn't know what the information they gave out was going to be used in a murder, it should never have been given out over the phone.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The City Offices are VERY Slack when it comes to this, and it has not changed one bit. An old co-worker and good friend of mine got his ex-wife's new address info from City Hall by accident. He'd been left a few days before and a piece of registered mail had come to him addressed to her. Out of habit, he reserved it for redelivery the next day. She wouldn't tell him where she had moved to, so he didn't know where to send it. He texted her and she said when he got it to text her sister, who would pick it up from him. It never came. He went to the post office and they were confused. The reservation was registered on the computer, but they told him the mail had been transferred to such and such post office in Kyoto, and he would have to ask City Hall why, or go to that post office. He went to City Hall, showed them her name on the slip and his address, and that he was her husband, and asked why the letter had not come and instead gone to Kyoto. They clicked away at the keyboard and then told them the address it had been transferred to, shrugging. He said the employee next to her then whispered something to the woman and then told my buddy, "If he wanted anymore information, he would have to ask her directly as she had registered her new address there and it was private". The woman who gave him the address went pale and asked to be excused.

My point is that my friend wasn't even TRYING to get the address, and had no intent to use it maliciously at all (though he was rightly peeved when he texted her about it and she exploded at City Hall, later having to admit she was living with someone -- happy ending for him, sort of, he got a lot of 'compensation' for cheating before he granted a divorce), and he got the information. He was just trying to figure out what was going on with the delivery. And he said he STILL could check the online tracking info and see the status of where and when it had been accepted (not down to the exact address, but they had filled in the blanks at City Hall). Imagine if he HAD been trying to trick them and phish for it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It is not a case of the clerk genuinely believing or not that it was her husband calling. The point is if the clerk had really bothered to check details before giving out the information, they would've actually known if it was him or not. Whether that is the clerks fault or the mangers fault for not training them properly, the responsibility is still with Zushi city.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@KniknaknokkaerToday 03:37 pm JST

The point is if the clerk had really bothered to check details before giving out the information, they would've actually known if it was him or not.

Tell me, how do you really feel when you are asked to present 3 items of identification, or being asked to wait for minutes while they supposedly check your records before finally letting you get on with what you need to do.

Yes, it's safer. But it's also a lot slower. And a lot more annoying. Personally, I get peeved at the new SecureCode and OTP requirements when making E-commerce credit card purchases though I understand why they are there.

No one is disputing that the clerk violated procedure or that Zushi city was not at fault. However, people are quibbling over the sum, and my honest question (despite the unfortunate ending) is he THAT wrong?

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

Kazuaki Shimazaki

Which is worth more? This woman’s life, or your convenience?

6 ( +6 / -0 )

time and time again we read about j police bungling cases and courts that show way too much leniency, police are above the law and unaccountable, courts cannot order them to open their files, not that they would anyway, they just want to close every case as soon as possible and on to the next one.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What a sad case and what will Japan do about it? Nothing.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Money is societies attempt to compensate for something that can not be otherwise remedied. The ammount is an indication of the seriousness with which it is viewed, ergo the anger and disgust expressed above. As a means of preventing it happening again it is useless as the people at fault are in no way affected. If the award came from the senior managers pockets it would work. More effective still is fire the person responsible, demote back to the lowest level the managers who failed to put adequate procedures in place (after all that is their job and they have not done it so are not fit for the post) and retrain all customer facing staff in the new procedures (and make it quite clear what the consequences are of failure).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Strangerland

I found a Japanese source that said that the idiot at the city hall had his pay reduced by 10% for 3 months by the mayor.

The irony is that the Zushi city hall regularly sends out emails warning about fraud and ore-ore calls etc.

I guess this jerk never bothered to read them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites