Twenty-five percent of suspected stalkers do not view themselves as such, an ignorance that makes it more difficult to counter the problem in Japan, according to a survey.

“A lack of self-acknowledgment could lead to more serious consequences,” said an official of the National Police Agency, which released the survey results on Jan. 25.

In the first survey of its kind on the mind-set of suspected stalkers, the Shizuoka Prefectural Police Department questioned 117 offenders over a year through May last year.

They had been given prohibitory injunctions, warnings or the subject of other interventions based on the Anti-Stalking Law.

Responses were received from 104 of them.

The offenders were asked to choose any number of options on their feelings and motivations when they were stalking.

The most common answer, selected by 41.3 percent of the respondents, was that they “wanted to reclaim a previous relationship,” followed by “wanted to make myself understood” picked by 30.8 percent, and “hatred or anger” chosen by 26.9 percent.

One in four offenders said they did not believe they were stalking.

Men accounted for 90 percent of the offenders. Nearly 50 percent of the victims were either involved in or had been involved in relationships with the offenders.

In the effort to fight stalking, police departments across Japan started a program last fiscal year that encourages stalkers to voluntarily consult psychiatrists and receive treatment if needed.

NPA officials said 36 prefectural police departments called on 522 stalking offenders to consult doctors between April and December last year.

Nearly 70 percent, or 360, rejected the requests, the officials said.