A recent assault case wherein the suspect allegedly sent thousands of messages over the mobile app Line to the victim has brought criticism over the recently revised anti-stalking law. The law does not include repeated messages sent over social networks, but only through email and texts, therefore raising questions over whether it would be effective.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department arrested 26-year-old Naoya Abe for allegedly assaulting a 23-year-old woman last month. He had been harassing her since January this year, sending 1,589 messages in one day through Line, a free messaging and phone call app, and another 1,660 20 days later. He threatened that he would come to her apartment if she did not take his call. The woman told the police about the repeated messages and the threat, but they could not arrest him for stalking because the law did not cover social networks, and he did not use words that are considered “stalking,” like demanding to see her or forcing her to have a romantic relationship or saying that he’s keeping an eye on her. On February 22, they were finally able to arrest him for allegedly hitting the woman on the head with a cell phone.
The police themselves say that their hands are tied by the law, as it doesn’t take into consideration the heavy use of messaging apps and social networks. One senior officer of the MPD says that they are prevented from protecting the victims unless they’re able to find other allegations against the stalkers. The law also says that police cannot arrest the perpetrator unless the victim feels physically threatened.
[ via Mainichi ]