A report released in April by the National Police Agency revealed that the number of incidents of stalking involving senior citizens in Japan is on the rise.
In 2013, perpetrators over the age of 60 accounted for 1,919 cases, a figure that is four times that of 10 years ago, the agency said.
Likewise, reports Shukan Asahi (Oct. 10), the number of victims of that demographic seeking professional assistance is also increasing.
Akiko Kobayakawa is the director of the Tokyo-based Humanity, a non-profit organization that assists people with personal problems.
“Consultations from elderly people being stalked are increasing rapidly,” says Kobayakawa.
The crimes follow two patterns: One involves a superior coming onto a much younger female, while the other includes a male pursuing a woman of a similar age and living in the same area.
To provide an example of the former case, the director tells of a 63-year-old at a large company who enjoyed a meal with a female colleague, 45, who was on the verge of ending her marriage.
However, the woman mended her relationship with her husband. Her pursuer then became enraged and began spreading negative rumors. The police were subsequently contacted, but that proved to be of little help as he denied everything.
“This is a case of a misunderstanding regarding what it means to love someone and rely on someone,” says Kobayakawa.
As an example of the second pattern, as previously reported in The Tokyo Reporter, police in Nara Prefecture in June arrested Takeo Shinda, an 85-year-old male from Wakayama, for repeatedly stalking a woman five years his junior. The suspect is alleged to have left a number of messages on the mobile phone of the woman in which he said he was waiting in front of her home.
According to Kobayakawa, reasoning with a pursuer can be futile, even if the victim is sympathetic.
“A person consumed with stalking will not comprehend the message,” she says.
But it is important for the victim to be direct, conveying that the sexual attraction is not reciprocal, and timing can be important.
“It is necessary to cope with the issue before it escalates,” she says. (K.N.)
Source: “Korei sutoka kyuzochu,” Shukan Asahi (Oct. 10, pages 26-29)