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