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2012年11月20日 (火)

ストーカー殺人 被害者守れぬ警察は猛省せよ

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 20, 2012)
Police must reflect on fatal stalking case
ストーカー殺人 被害者守れぬ警察は猛省せよ(11月19日付・読売社説)

Police were unable to protect the life of a stalking victim who had been terrorized by her stalker and complained to police, saying she feared he would physically harm her. They must seriously reflect on their handling of the case and take measures to prevent such incidents from recurring.

The victim was a female designer who was murdered by her former boyfriend in Zushi, Kanagawa Prefecture. In June last year, the Zushi police arrested the man on suspicion of intimidating the woman by sending her e-mails threatening to kill her.

When arresting him, a police officer read aloud her new surname and address after her marriage when reading the arrest warrant to the suspect. The woman had earlier asked the police not to reveal her new surname or address to the man. As the police officer read them aloud, the man was highly likely to note the information about the victim.

On Nov. 6 while he was on probation, the man broke into the woman's apartment, murdered her and then committed suicide.

Reading aloud an arrest warrant is meant to explain to the suspect why he or she was arrested. But there is no need to tell the suspect everything written on a warrant.


Victim's welfare disregarded

The Zushi police officer who read the warrant thoughtlessly disregarded the victim's welfare.

Yutaka Katagiri, commissioner general of the National Police Agency, announced that the NPA will review the way entries in arrest warrants are made. The review is necessary, but the agency should, first of all, rigorously investigate how the Zushi police dealt with the latest case.

About six months before the murder, the man allegedly sent the woman more than 1,000 e-mails in about 20 days. In the e-mails, the man reproached her for breaking off their engagement. But the Zushi police decided not to prosecute the case as a violation of the anti-stalking law.

The anti-stalking law stipulates that following someone is unlawful only when accompanied by "defamatory remarks" or "extremely aggressive or violent behavior and abusive language."

Surely the man's actions came under these categories. We cannot help but question whether the Zushi police dealt with the case properly.

A review of the anti-stalking law is also a matter of urgency. Although the current law prohibits one from making phone calls or sending faxes repeatedly and persistently, e-mails are not subject to the law.


Laws must change with times

In light of the fact that the means of telecommunications have diversified, in line with the popularity of the Internet, provisions of the law should be amended to reflect the current situation.

The number of police warnings based on the anti-stalking law issued to suspected stalkers nationwide from January to August totaled 1,511, already exceeding the annual record of 1,384 logged in 2007, according to the NPA.

To protect victims involved in stalking cases, whose number has been soaring lately, the agency may also need to take new countermeasures.

In the anti-domestic violence law, which is designed to protect victims from violent acts of their spouses, a suspected offender can be prohibited by a court injunction from coming close to the victim. Violators of such injunctions are subject to arrest.

The adoption of a similar system should be studied for dealing with the stalking case as well.

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Nov. 19, 2012)
(2012年11月19日01時30分  読売新聞)


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« 「第3極」 政策のあいまいさ放置するな | トップページ | 衆院選主要な争点 日本の国家像を具体的に語れ »