October 11, 2019
Julian Ryall

Tokyo police have arrested a man suspected of tracking down a female pop star, whom he later allegedly assaulted, by scrutinising reflections in her eyes from social media posts.

Hibiki Sato, a 26-year-old unemployed man from Saitama, north of Tokyo, has been arrested on charges of causing injury by forcible indecency after allegedly attacking Ena Matsuoka, 21, a singer with the group Tenshi Tsukinukeni Yomi, on September 1.

Police suspect Sato was able to narrow down the area in Tokyo where Ms Matsuoka lived by going through her social media photographs and enlarging the images, the Sankei Shimbun reported.

The enhanced photos revealed scenery and landmarks reflected in her eyes.  Sato then allegedly narrowed down the area using Google Street View, identifying the station closest to her home, before stalking Ms Matsuoka.

Police suspect Sato followed Ms Matsuoka from the station after she had finished a concert and attacked her as she entered her apartment building. Sato allegedly placed a towel over her head, threw her to the ground and molested her.

“People should be fully aware that posting pictures and video on social media runs the risk of divulging personal data”, a police investigator said.

The incident is just the latest involving obsessed fans of young female performers in Japan.

Mayu Tomita was 20 years old when she was attacked as she walked towards a concert venue in Tokyo where she was due to perform as part of the Sold Girls Night in May 2016. She was stabbed 60 times in the chest and neck by 27-year-old Tomohiro Iwazaki.

Iwazaki had sent Ms Tomita books and a wristwatch earlier in the year, but she returned them. He responded by sending her around 400 increasingly angry and threatening Twitter messages, which she reported to police.

After the attack, Tomita was treated in hospital for four months, is now partially blind in her left eye, has problems eating and singing, has not regained the full use of the fingers of one hand and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. She still needs to undergo regular reconstructive surgery. In February 2017, he was sentenced to 14 years and 6 months in prison.

In 2014, two members of the hugely popular all-girl band AKB48 were assaulted at a “handshake event” for fans in Iwate Prefecture. Rina Kawaei, 19, and 18-year-old Anna Iriyama sustained broken bones and lacerations in the incident, as did a member of staff, before the assailant was subdued.



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