Petition to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from Miss International, Ikumi Yoshimatsu.
Dear Prime Minister Abe,
As you know, I am the first Japanese woman to be crowned Miss International in the 52-year long history of the pageant. Since winning my crown in October 2012, I have been the victim of stalking, intimidation, threats, extortion and blackmail by a powerful Japanese talent agency executive known to have ties to organized crime.
This man tried to abduct me from a TV studio, made threatening calls to my family, and hired private investigators to stalk me, peep into my windows and photograph my home.
The Japanese organizers of the Miss International 2013 world grand prix even asked me to “Play Sick” and “Keep Quiet” in order to appease my stalker after he made threatening phone calls to their sponsors. Because of this, I became the first Miss International titleholder in the 52-year history of the pageant prevented from passing my crown to my successor. I fear for my life and require 24hr security.
I went to the police with more than 30 exhibits of evidence including recordings and photographs. As is typically the case in Japan, the police did nothing more than offer to increase patrols in my area. They did nothing to assure my safely or to punish my stalker.
In an unprecedented move, I became the first Japanese women ever to publically name her tormentor and went public with my story. In sharp contrast to strong global coverage in the foreign media, not a single Japanese newspaper or TV station has covered the story out of fear of reprisal from my stalker who is linked to organized crime.
My blog has been read by millions of people and thousands have written messages of support and shared their own stories of fear, intimidation and violence.
Japan is plagued by a “culture of silence” toward crimes against women that has been the standard for centuries.
Mr. Abe, as prime minister you have been a strong and vocal supporter of women’s rights. You have called time and time again for a “society in which women shine.”
Your strong leadership on this issue would be a game-changer.
As a first step, I ask that you establish a taskforce to investigate stalking and violence against women with the objective of laying out an immediate national strategy to address these issues and offer real protection for women.
Out of all the industrialized nations, Japan is by far the lowest ranking country on Gender Equality. –A disgraceful 105 out of 136 countries.
We need strict anti-stalking laws and strong punishment for perpetrators of crimes against women. We need a police force that will protect women and immediately act to prevent stalking and intimidation.
We need Restraining Orders granted by the courts for any woman who has been threatened, BEFORE she is actually harmed, murdered, or forced to commit suicide. We need media that report on these issues without fear.
Without protecting the women of Japan, our country will never enjoy the economic and moral benefits of a truly equal society.
Miss International 2012
A small sample of IKUMI’s headlines from around the world:
【The Japan Times】
DEC 11, 2013
Celebrity stands up to talent agency ‘ stalker’”
DEC 17, 2013
“Beauty queen barred amid talent agency flap”
DEC 25, 2013
“First lady scrutinizes blackballing of beauty queen”
The Strait Times Asia Report
International Business Times
Japanese beauty queen barred from ceremony - Boston Herald
Japan’s Miss International takes on mob-backed entertainment complex - Daily Beast