Victim accuses LDP city councilor of “other crimes” in addition to stalking
Convicted of violating the Stalking Control Law, but did not resign.
In September this year, Koichi Sato, 66, a city councilor in Niigata City, was arrested and summarily charged with violating the Stalking Control Law for repeatedly loitering around the home of a female acquaintance. Sato is a prominent figure who has been elected three times and served as president of the PTA, and his arrest came as a surprise to the local community.
The man who was charged with the crime was a stalker, but I was harassed by him in every way for two years.”
The woman who voiced her anger was Ms. Ako, a beauty salon owner in her 40s, who was stalked by Mr. Sato.
It all started back in December of 2008. First, I received a video of me and B coming out of a sushi restaurant, along with a letter that read, ‘This is an act of infidelity,’ as if drawn with a ruler, addressed to B’s wife. It was addressed to B’s wife. I was just having a business meeting with him. ……”
Later, when he met with Mr. B to discuss this matter, he was also photographed and sent to Mr. B’s home as evidence of ″unfaithfulness.
In April ’21, the level of ″surveillance″ increased. The places I visited in my car were recorded with photographs and sent to B’s house along with the words ‘Please verify’ made with Tepla. It was like a detective’s investigative report, with a detailed timeline of the dates and locations of my shopping trips and meetings with my boyfriend. One time, I noticed a strange clattering sound coming from the back of the car and peeked in to see a black machine taped to the back of the car. …… I called the police and had them check it out, and it turned out to be a GPS.”
Even so, Ako said she had no idea who the culprit was. Eventually, even the beauty salon owned by Ms. Ako became a target of harassment.
They reported to the health department that I was operating illegally. Each time, the investigation led to the suspension of my business. Three times in one month, I was reported to the health department, and I was in over my head.
After two years of harassment, Ako’s spirit was exhausted, but in June of this year, a clue to the culprit’s identity came to her by chance.
The letter came to his workplace for the first time, and the sender was the “Niigata Prefecture Environmental Health Division. Since the department had jurisdiction over the salon, it hit me that the series of harassments might have been the work of the same person.”
Ms. A requested the Niigata Police Station to disclose the person who reported the incident to the health department. Based on that information, an investigation was conducted, and Koichi Sato was arrested.
Sato was the husband of the owner of the convenience store where I worked part-time as a side job. I was surprised because I had no connection with him, so much so that I didn’t recognize him for a moment. Later, in talking with the prosecutor and the police, I learned that Sato had been loitering around my house on multiple occasions and that he had been using a detective to spy on me for a year starting in July 2008.
He said he was dismayed to hear that City Councilor Sato had stated to the interrogator, “Ms. Ako greeted me cheerfully and I thought she was doing me a favor, so I took an interest in her private life and followed the detective.
I had to move to a new place because of this stalking and my salon suffered a lot of damage. Above all, I was scared. There has been no apology from City Councilor Sato, and he says he will not stop being a councilor. I can only assume he has no remorse.”
If Ms. A’s accusations are true, then Mr. Sato has no right to continue as a council member. In response to the series of allegations, Mr. Sato refuted the allegations, saying, “I don’t think he is qualified to continue as a council member.
It is true that I visited her home in August, but I was just driving by on my way to do some shopping. It is also untrue that I followed a detective or sent letters to acquaintances. I think that Ms. Ako is mistaken about having a detective accomplice…I heard rumors that Ms. Ako’s salon was operating illegally, but …… I did not report it to the health department. After the arrest, I told my lawyer that I wanted to apologize, but Ms. Ako refused to do so.Ms. Ako was working hard and I want to support her, and that hasn’t changed. However, I am afraid that she has told me things that are so far from the truth that the opposite is true.”
After hearing Ms. Sato’s defense, Ms. Ako let out a deep sigh and expressed her determination.
I am speaking entirely on the basis of evidence and testimony. I intend to file a civil suit in the near future to hold them accountable.
From the November 11, 2022 issue of FRIDAY
PHOTO： Toshikatsu Tanaka