TOKYO, April 6, Kyodo — There was an increase in the number of people consulting police for suspected stalking and domestic violence cases in Japan last year, partially reflecting victims’ growing willingness to come forward, the National Police Agency said Thursday.
Police conducted investigations on a record number of suspected stalking cases, while also seeing a record number of people coming forward with domestic violence complaints, according to data released by the agency.
The data also showed a continued trend of young people engaging in revenge pornography, with police holding more than 1,000 interviews with possible victims for the second year in a row. The offense was outlawed in November 2014.
Police nationwide were consulted over a total of 22,737 possible stalking cases, up 3.5 percent from the year before.
They also issued 3,562 warnings, up 5.5 percent, and investigated 769 cases, up 92, for possible violations of the stalker regulation law. Both figures were the highest since the law’s enactment in 2000.
“We believe more people reported being victimized, deeming it safe to consult (police),” an agency official said, while attributing the police’s early intervention to the rise in the number of cases investigated.
The data showed 1,919 cases, up 47, were investigated for crimes like attempted murder and assault, and other similar violent acts.
A total of 88.8 percent of the targets were women, with 36.0 percent of the targets in their 20s and 25.5 percent in their 30s. Meanwhile, 22.2 percent of suspected stalkers were in their 30s, followed by those in their 40s at 21.0 percent and those in their 20s at 18.6 percent, according to the data.
Among high-profile stalking cases, an aspiring pop idol was nearly stabbed to death in May last year in Koganei, western Tokyo by a fan who repeatedly harassed her online.
The anti-stalking law was subsequently revised and came into force in January to ban repeated messaging through social networks and loitering near targeted persons’ homes.
Police also received reports of a record 69,908 cases of domestic violence, up 10.7 percent from the year before, marking a 13th consecutive year of increase.
A record 8,291 cases of violent crime were investigated, including 2 murders, 100 attempted murders and 4,409 assaults, according to the data.
An NPA official said the figures reflect a shift in the mindset of victims over the years, saying “many domestic violence victims used to remain silent” in the past.
The police issued 2,143 restraining orders and other protection orders, of which 104 were investigated for later violations.
While 85.0 percent of the domestic violence victims were women, the number of male victims rose to 10,496, surpassing the 10,000 mark for the first time.
A total of 85.0 percent of the assailants were men, with those in their 30s and 40s comprising more than half.
The number of reports of revenge pornography stood at 1,063 last year. While the figure was down 7.0 percent from the year before, it still remained at a high level, the data showed.
Roughly 90 percent of the victims were women and 90 percent of the assailants were men. The most common relationship between the victim and the assailant was boyfriend-girlfriend, including ex-partners.
A total of 451 cases included the victims being threatened that compromising images would be distributed, followed by another 297 cases in which images were suspected to have been retained. In 196 cases, images of a compromising nature were publically released without consent.