Photo/IllutrationMayu Tomita’s right hand shows scars from the knife attack in 2016. (Ryuichiro Komatsu)

  • Photo/Illustraion
  • Photo/Illustraion

Singer Mayu Tomita, who was stabbed around 60 times by an obsessed “fan,” sued Tokyo police for failing to protect her even though she showed them death threats sent by the stalker.

The knife attack on the outskirts of Tokyo in 2016 left the singer nearly blind in one eye.

Tomita, 23, still has problems breathing and eating, undergoes reconstructive surgery almost once every six months, and suffers from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

She said one other thing that really bothers her is the reaction from police after the attack, when they questioned whether she actually did tell them that her life was in danger.

“I would like police to realize that if they fail to respond adequately, it could result in something similar that happened to me,” she said.

In the lawsuit filed with the Tokyo District Court on July 10, Tomita is seeking a total of 76 million yen ($697,200) in compensation from the Tokyo metropolitan government, under whose jurisdiction the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department falls, the assailant and her agency.

Tomita’s lawyers are expected to argue that police failed to take necessary measures to protect her despite her prior consultations with them about the threats to her life.

Her agency is accused of not giving adequate consideration to her safety.

The assailant, Tomohiro Iwazaki, now 30, was convicted of attempted murder and is serving a prison term of 14 years and six months.

Tadashi Shimanuki, chief of the MPD’s litigation section, said, “We cannot comment as we have not received the written complaint.”

Earlier, Yasuhiro Iwata, chief of the MPD’s community safety and general affairs section, said, “We are making efforts together as one organization to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents, as we take seriously the fact that we could not prevent her from being attacked although we had been alerted earlier.”

Iwazaki had sent online messages to Tomita to express his admiration for her. But he became obsessed with the singer and started sending her gifts and constantly trying to initiate chats with her through social media.

After she returned his gifts, Iwazaki posted a barrage of hate-filled, menacing messages and blog entries about her. Several of his tweets and blog entries threatened to kill Tomita.

Tomita feared he might attack her, so she consulted with local police in early May 2016, her lawyers said.

Showing Iwazaki’s messages, Tomita told the officers that “I may be killed.”

Two days before she was scheduled to perform on May 21 that year in Koganei city in western Tokyo, Tomita, who was a college student at the time, informed officers of when and where she would appear in public.

Iwazaki, an unemployed man from Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, waited for her near the live house on the day of the performance.

He followed her to the club and then, just after 5 p.m., repeatedly stabbed her outside the venue, leaving her in a coma.

Her lawyers said the police’s failure to send officers around the club as a precaution amounts to a breach of the law, given the imminent danger that Tomita was in.

The MPD later acknowledged in its review report that officers could not prevent the attack because they did not grasp the seriousness of Tomita’s situation. Their assessment at the time was that Iwazaki was unlikely to carry out an imminent attack.

But the officers’ misjudgment is not the only reason Tomita, along with her mother, decided to take legal action against the police department.

Tomita said that when she was recuperating in a hospital, officers asked her if she really had said that she “may be killed” during the earlier consultation.

“I absolutely did,” Tomita recalled replying.

Tomita said the more she learned about the police handling of her case through the review report, the more disgusted she became.

Tomita said she is suffering from dozens of physical injuries from the attack.

“As I can barely see things on the left side, I did not notice dishes placed near my left hand when I had a dinner with my friends,” Tomita said in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun.

But the most difficult thing she is dealing with is PTSD.

“When I see a person holding a pen, even if it is a friend or my doctor, I become really nervous because I fear I may be stabbed,” she said.

At one time on a train, she saw a man putting his hand in his pocket, and she became so worried that he was concealing a knife that she abruptly exited the train at the next stop.

Every time she hears news about the knife attack, she flashes back to the day of the assault.

“It is difficult to return to what life was like before the incident,” she said.

Tomita also cannot go outside alone, needing the company of a friend or her mother.

“Through the lawsuit, I want to find out why the officers did not take my daughter’s consultations seriously,” her mother said.

(This article was written by Ryujiro Komatsu and Kayoko Sekiguchi.)