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Stalking cases soar


The city of Okegawa in Saitama Prefecture has an unfortunate claim to fame. In 1999, there occurred the incident that caused the nation to reconsider its deplorable response to stalking. That response consisted mostly in ignoring it, as a 21-year-old woman discovered on complaining repeatedly to Okegawa police about the menacing behavior of her ex-boyfriend. The woman’s murder in October 1999 resulted in the police being roundly criticized and laws being toughened.

Stalking, one might think, would wither in consequence, but more than a decade later it not only survives but flourishes, the number of episodes rising steadily year by year, reports Josei Seven (June 20). The leap from 2,280 known cases in 2000 to 14,662 the following year was predictable, a result of heightened and more sympathetic police attention under the stronger laws. But the figure for 2012 is 19,920, up from 14,618 for 2011. This hardly suggests a crime on the verge of being stamped out.

Most stalkers are ex-husbands or boyfriends, Josei Seven claims. A recent case in Isehara, Kanagawa Prefecture highlights the obsessive bitterness of the stalker and the helplessness of the victim. The couple met at university and married in 2005. They lived with his family. Slowly the young wife discovered aspects of her husband’s character she hadn’t suspected. He had been raised conscientiously but at the onset of puberty he turned violent, repeatedly attacking his parents and younger brother. His mother had hoped marriage would change him. It didn’t. His wife divorced him and fled, first to her own parents, then, with her infant son in tow, to a shelter, where she lived three years, finally moving into her own apartment.

The ex-husband, meanwhile, took to venting his murderous fantasies on a blog. For seven years that seems to have absorbed him. On the morning of May 21, his ex-wife was taking their son, now 6, to school when a man sprang at her with a knife. She is recovering slowly, still hospitalized. The husband, Shimon Sadakari, has been charged with attempted murder. He apparently hired a private detective to find and photograph his ex-wife.

“The stalkers I’ve met,” a counselor who helps stalking victims tells the magazine, “all give the impression of being good, earnest, conscientious men.” The flaw that undoes them, she says, is likely to be narcissism. “They’re always looking at themselves in the mirror.”

Having been dumped by a wife or girlfriend can be a dreadful assault on such a man’s self-esteem. The increasing independence of women, if that analysis holds, does not bode well for the fight against stalking.

© Japan Today

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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This is a sad story to say the least, and while the "reported" cases are rising it would not surprise me in the least if the actual numbers are double if not more than are reported here. The cops still don't take this seriously enough.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Some posters have written, about recent , similar articles, that there isn't that much the police can do about stalkers, that generally they do as much as they can.

I would have to say that, on the contrary, the police aren't doing as much as they could and should be.

Their sloppiness, unwillingness to take reports seriously, and tendency to believe the apparently reasonable stalker, has led to injuries and death.

I wonder if the families too, are often complicit in protecting the stalker?

There are women stalkers too, of course, though far, far fewer, and I wouldn't be surprised if the police take their threats more seriously from the outset and if their families get involved more readily too to get her under control. The hysterical woman has always been easily silenced and bound. It's a shame they won't silence the man so readily.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Men who are proven to be stalkers should be identified in public by the police. If they're confronted with a very real possibility of losing face, that will solve this problem all by itself.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Narcism? selfish egotistical spoiled child-men you mean

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The fact that the number of stalking cases is higher most likely reflects that the police are finally starting to take it more seriously. In the past they wouldn't even acknowledge it, probably in an attempt to keep crime statistics in their respective precincts low.

This article focuses on male stalkers, but I have seen many cases of female stalkers in Japan. Not a pretty sight.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I had a female stalker here in Japan. We barely knew each other but she became obsessed and very scary. She tracked everything and even started contacting my company. She threatened violence and more.

The most difficult point was getting the idiotic police to actually do something about it. I went to the police and during my talk with them she called over 15 times and emailed a dozen threatening emails. All of which they observed. And yet it took them over two weeks to finally dispatch someone to her home to ask her to stop. Which she ignored entirely.

It came down to my stalking the local police by calling them daily to get them to actually tell her to stop. Which failed entirely to get her to change.

In the end it seriously affected my health, my well being, my work, everything. I finally told her that if she continued something quite terrible would happen. Then and only then did she stop. The authorities failed me entirely.

What is required are much stronger laws against stalkers. They should be arrested, questioned and if proof of their behavior is provided, sentenced for it. Otherwise they will not stop. That is why some people are killed because there is no means of stopping these people and some escalate to violence.

For victims there can sometimes be no escape. And it is not limited to men. Women in this country are just as effective stalkers. And they threaten violence as well. I heard one woman threatened to stab and infect her target with HIV infected material. That should be a criminal offense just to suggest that to someone or to make that threat. But in that case too, the police just shrugged it off.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

I do not know the status of restraining orders in Japan, but this is how they should work: A judge issues such an order prohibiting an individual from approaching within a set distance of another and also prohibiting all forms of contact. Such an order would set clear criteria for the police to act - any email, any phone call, any approach to habitual movements of the intended victim would be cause for arrest.

Do not blame the police too much. Without such clear criteria, they have no legal cause for intervention.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Laguna. I do blame the police. A threat of violence is already illegal in Japan. An email, voicemail or other proven form of communication delivering a threat should be validation for a response by the police. But it is not.

Having someone try to break into your home is already illegal. And yet many stalking victims report this problem but do not have it addressed.

You know what the police said to me after the initial interview? "She's cute, why don't you just get together with her?" Then the two of them started laughing and said in Japanese "I would bed her." I guess they did not realized I could understand what they said.

The police here, in my experience, are paid to do nothing. Enact a system that forces whoever they do arrest to be designated as guilty. And utterly fail to protect people when help is sought. We hear in the news time and again that people who have been killed by a stalker or neighbor had told the police of the threat well ahead of time. And yet....

So yes I do blame the empty headed fools I have see who represent the police here.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Does anyone know if Japan has 'restraining orders' for use against stalkers? I know it exists for things like DV and stalkers write statements saying they'll comply with police orders to stop harassing, but what I'm referring to is a legal order/document that prohibits a person from 'visiting' or contacting somone (i.e. calling, email). If one violates the 'restraining order' they go to jail. Whether the document is enforced is a whole other story...and isn't my question.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The police here, in my experience, are paid to do nothing.

This is a very accurate comment.

1 ( +5 / -4 )


i've read this anecdote of yours several times already, and while i feel sorry for your plight, you seem to ramble on about who or what is to blame. you say the laws need to be tightened but then you rail against the police for not doing anything about a "threat." but when the police did act upon your request, it still didn't stop her harassment. so even if the police had acted earlier, she would have still stalked/harassed you. also, what constitutes a "threat"? if she is threatining to murder you that's one thing. but if she threatens to come to your house or something, that's something else.

i think stalking is one of the hardest crimes to protect people against. anyone can claim that they are being harassed or threatened. the police just can't go out and arrest everyone on the basis of one complaint. if a person is that worried, then consult a lawyer, collect evidence and bring it to the police.

and on a final note, the very few cases of stalker-murders is blown out of proportion on this site.

-4 ( +4 / -8 )

CRN Japan notes:

According to NPA statistics, there were 12,568 cases of alleged domestic violence and 1,499 restraining orders issued in 2003. Police took action in 41 cases in which court orders were violated. ....The revision to the Law for the Prevention of Spousal Violence and the Protection of Victims passed in May expanded the definition of spousal violence to include mental, sexual, and physical abuse and increased the length of restraining orders from 2 weeks to 2 months.


So, yes, apparently restraining orders do exist; perhaps they are difficult to get; perhaps they are not enforced well.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Laguna, thanks. Was curious about stalking victims being granted a (legal) restraining order as opposed to a spouse who is/was the victim of violence. Most stalkers aren't necessarily violent, so can one get a restraining order based on the number of 'visits', emails, phone calls...not just physical harm?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sad story.

But those rising numbers are most likely due to recent societal recognition, and subesequent reporting of, something that was there all along.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

But Abenomics will fix everything, right?

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Stalking is a very very creepy thing. I was stalked twice, by the same person and no not in Japan either. Police never got involved, just spoke to the stalker's family the first time..utterly ignored. It stopped for a while, seemed like the guy couldn't go out or he stopped taking walks (he lived on the same road..and I tried avoiding the time he comes out), then the second time he didn't just follow me..he would stalk my movements from his house and the moment I get out he'd come out too and ask me increasingly creepy/ very personal questions until I finally couldn't get on with it, and started getting scared of going out. One day, coming back from a very bad exam, I confronted him openly, told him to stop it or next time my bf will be the one confronting him and that he will not like it. I was very very scared though, he towers above me (I'm small heh) and he really didn't seem impressed by the scene I made, but it seems like it worked. I still don't go out by myself, and when I want to go for a jog I always have my female (more-aggressive looking) friends with me or my mom who is very effective at giving deathly looks at possible flirts.

4 ( +5 / -1 )


If this is still going on, you could consider moving. Of course you shouldn't have to, but it is a matter of personal safety and peace of mind. Forgive me for butting in. Take care.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Lowly- I have no idea myself! I haven't seen him around for a bit, and I discovered he did ask similar questions to a married friend but the moment she told him she's married he backed off instantly. Oh no you're not butting in! I did consider moving away actually, but I'm not yet sure I could live on my own pay for now, so that will have to wait a year or so still. It is just very very creepy, this guy, we grew up on the same street..he never ever talked to me, now suddenly he is taking too much interest in me in a creepy way. Weirdness. What absolutely enraged me though is the questions he asks with a straight face..no shame at all!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm male and haven stalked hardcore in Japan. As I drove to work I would see the stalker standing on a street corner where I passed everyday, she would be standing at a vending machine on the walk to the station. She's been stalking me since about 1996, never been violent but I'm sure it ruined her. She simply never moved on. I feel sorry for her for sure but am also alert that she could suddenly become violent as the decades pass

0 ( +0 / -0 )

But Abenomics will fix everything, right?

Refreshing to know some people still believe in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Paul, I think you hit the nail on the head. In these cases it is usually the stalker who needs help. A psychologically trained policeman and a self-help group for the stalkers to let them know that they have a problem with obsession would help much better than regular police. After all, telling any type of addict to stop is basically pointless without any support. I think that is why the police is so powerless in these situations.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Aaaaah, Saitama. Always good for a crime story. I know it is not any kind of scientific fact, but just in my own personal experience I have heard of far more stalking "cases" - either through friends or through work - in Japan than anywhere else I have lived.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The increasing independence of women, if that analysis holds, does not bode well for the fight against stalking.

So it's the woman's fault? Who wrote this?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

seriously though, so what if i like this chicka and i purposely follow her around the block just to get a few extra glimses of her and maybe await an opportunity to get to know her...

like it used to be a part of courtship, whats the harm?

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

seriously though, so what if i like this chicka and i purposely follow her around the block just to get a few extra glimses of her and maybe await an opportunity to get to know her...

like it used to be a part of courtship, whats the harm?

@Cramp... I think that may creep her out, and you could get lifted by the rozzers if she reports you.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@cramp - it "used to be part of courtship" to deliberately ruin a young woman's reputation by seducing her and thus forcing her into marriage.

This is considered very backward behaviour, just like following people because you like them is.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@tkoind2 : You ahve my full support and sympathy. Let me add something, it is not just the insufficiency of law or the police. It is their whole system of thinking. If she has not hurt you yet, how are you SURE that she really wants to hurt you?! I was asked by a Saiban, known to represenet the most intelligent they have in their system, how did I know she was going to hammer me to death for sure, and why did I grab her arms trying to stop the hammer while she had not used it on me yet?! This question blew me away. In short, if your stalker has not put a dagger into you, how do you know for SURE that is what she really wants to do? For the average Japanese, anything betwen 0% and 100% is simply "just possible". They cannot diffentiate between lower and higher levels of possibility and group them all as "possible but not certain". So you had to let the stalker do something, even just breaking a cup, before having police arrest her.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

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