TOKYO - Police have arrested an 85-year-old man in western Japan for allegedly stalking an 80-year-old woman he reportedly met when she shared a hospital room with his now-dead wife, they said Monday.
Takeo Nitta from Hashimoto, Wakayama prefecture, allegedly left several telephone messages on the woman's answerphone in November, saying: "I'm waiting outside your house. Let's go out." Officers warned him twice against harassment after receiving complaints from the woman, but his behaviour allegedly escalated and on May 2 he is said to have broken into her house, a police spokesman said.
Nitta was arrested on June 10 on suspicion of violating anti-stalking laws, the spokesman said, adding he had largely admitted the allegations.
In a report last week, the Asahi Shimbun said the two had met when the woman shared a hospital room with Nitta's wife several years ago. His wife died last year, the paper reported.
The number of crimes committed by the elderly in Japan is rocketing as they make up an ever-larger proportion of its ageing society.
Government figures show the number of criminals aged 65 or older booked by police in 2011 had risen six-fold in two decades.
Most elderly crimes were shoplifting or theft, but violent crimes were also on the rise, statistics show.
The number of Japanese aged 65 or over stands at around 32 million, making up a quarter of the nation's 127-million population, an all-time high and one of the highest proportions of elderly people in the world.