Japan’s anti-stalking law, which was enacted in 2000, has been revised and passed in June to respond to recent high-profile murder cases involving stalkers. The revised and improved law took effect on Thursday and among the revisions, the law now requires the police to explain to a complainant in writing if they choose not to issue a warning to a reported stalker. Also, the law now requires the police to notify a victim if and when a warning to a reported stalker has been issued.
The revision is the first since the law was enacted and has been improved in light of recent highly-publicized police gaffes that led to victims losing trust in the system. Another part of the revision now allows the police jurisdiction over the case where offenders live – including issuing warnings and restraining orders — rather than just jurisdictions just on where the victims actually live. Before the revision, many stalking victims hesitated to report to police as they were concerned that stalkers – because of the way the system was laid out – would actually be able to find out where they live from the information on the warning which lists the name of the city where the victims lived. Emails are also now considered a form of stalking, in addition to fax messages and telephone calls.
The issue of stalking was brought into the spotlight in 2012 when police were criticized for their failure to protect victims who had reported being harassed. In November 2012, a woman living in Kanagawa Prefecture was stabbed to death by an ex-boyfriend even though she had reported to the police that he had sent more than 1,000 emails to her cellphone in a two-week period. Reports had found out that the killer learned of her new name and address, ironically and tragically, from the police.
[via Japan Times]