The text message announcing the funeral service of Mitsue Hayakawa was sent from the deceased’s cell phone by her brother, in the hope that many friends and acquaintances would gather to say their farewells. The very brief message expressed the immense tragedy of her death.
As one mourner said, “Her pretty face was swollen and even some men cried as they paid their last respects. I cannot describe how the bereaved family, particularly her brother, looked. It was just unbearable to watch.”
The grief and sense of misgiving felt by the brother as well as mourners were directed toward the police as well. Despite the fact that the victim had reported to the police about the suspect’s stalking activities, it did not prevent her death.
Hayakawa, 32, who worked at a cell phone shop in Anjo City, Aichi, was assaulted by Toshinobu Sato in the middle of the night of March 26. When the paramedics arrived, she was unconscious and in a critical condition.
According to one police source, “There was blood everywhere at the crime scene. Based on the severity of the violence, a warrant was issued for attempted murder rather than injury resulting in death, and the suspect was arrested the next day.”
But the victim passed away in hospital two weeks later, on April 10.
Hayakawa had been dating Sato since December 2007, but circumstances changed drastically when she said she wanted to break up. After incessant phone calls, menacing words and being ambushed by Sato, Hayakawa felt threatened and went to the Anjo Police Department to report the incidents. The detective in charge contacted Sato, urging him to reflect on his conduct, but this only worsened the harassment. In early March, Sato battered Hayakawa, stalked her at her workplace, and told acquaintances he would “definitely kill her.”
While Hayakawa consulted the police five times, no protection was provided and Sato’s violence was allowed to continue. People who know the victim say her death was much like the 1999 murder of a university student in Okegawa City, Saitama, by her former boyfriend.
Dereliction of duty on the part of the police drew much public attention. The vice chief of Anjo Police Department commented, “Since Ms Hayakawa stated that she didn’t want to make her ex-boyfriend into a criminal, we couldn’t take any further action. The suspect was to be summoned to the police station on March 28, and from our perspective, we had done all we could. We regret the fact that we were unable to prevent the crime, and we are very sorry.”
However, journalist Akihiro Otani points out, “Although there may have been reluctance to file a suit… incidents like this happen because of police inaction. The Stalker Regulation Law was implemented as a result of the Okegawa murder case, yet the lesson has not been learned.”
Who would imagine that consideration for an ex-boyfriend could result in death? The police need to reconsider their slack approach to crime.© Japan Today