- Global Voices - https://globalvoices.org -

Standing Up for Stalking Victims in Japan

Categories: East Asia, Japan, Law, Politics, Women & Gender

Forty-nine different groups that campaign to end violence against women came together and made a joint statement [1] [ja] on November 19, 2012 calling for concrete measures to support stalking victims and prevent homicide by stalkers.

The statement was made after an incident [2] on November 6 in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture, where a woman was stabbed and killed by her ex-boyfriend, who later turned out to be a stalker.

The website of Network to Create Sexual Violence Prohibition Act [1] [ja] writes about the case:


According to the report, the victim had asked police for help four times before she was killed. Prior to the incident, the perpetrator was convicted for 1 year imprisonment and three years probation on charges against intimidation. However he continued to stalk her after was suspended out. When the victim asked the police for further investigation in late March this year, after receiving 1089 emails in 20 days, the police turned down the victim's request for the following reasons;

  • anti-stalking law does not include a word to ban emails
  • No sentence that indicates “killing” was found in the emails

For the above reasons, the police had decided not to investigate the stalker since it neither meets anti-stalking laws nor intimidation charges.

The groups seek fundamental change in recognition of stalking activity by police in the following statement:






  1. All police officers should take a special seminar to understand the nature of crime against women such as stalking. The seminar should be arranged with lecturer outside the police such as a victim, survivors, and supporters.
  2. Publish an effective operating manual for cases of violence against women including stalking activities, to ensure the safety of the aggrieved party. This manual should be carried and kept at all times by all police officers.
  3. Email should be included as an act of stalking, and a prohibition order should be made by police on request of the aggrieved party, banning stalkers from approach their victims. Drastic change is needed in anti-stalking control law to ensure the safety of aggrieved party.
  4. Domestic Violence Prevention Law should extend its subject from “spouses” to “spouses and etc” so that it can include people in an unmarried relationship and formerly in relationships. Cases of stalking should be allowed to use protection order and urgent temporary protection system.
  5. Article 6 of the Act on Regulation of Private Detective Services defines “detective activities should be within the scope of other laws and should not violate interest of individuals who wish to lead a peaceful life”. Private detective services should be made clear that they should not reveal the address of stalking victim on request of stalker or abuser.

When the murderer was arrested for intimidation in June this year, the police read the full name of the victim (who was now married) as well as her new address out loud, which could have possibly helped the murderer trace her home after marriage. (In Japan, most women change their family name to that of their husband's family name after marriage.)

The murderer used an online forum to ask more than 400 questions using three different accounts. Some of his questions [ja] included “where can I buy a sharp kitchen knife [3]“, ” what happens if a murderer commits a suicide before being arrested [4]“, “how do I get to Kotsubo area in Zushi city by bus [5]?”

The murderer hanged himself after he stabbed the victim to death.

Thumbnail image by Keiko Tanaka