Archive for March, 2012

U.S. congressional panel advances bill on child abductions

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: Child Abduction, Child Custody and Visitation | Tags: , , , |

Mar. 28, 2012 – WASHINGTON

A U.S. congressional panel on Tuesday advanced a bill that would punish nations for not addressing child abductions, putting pressure on Japan which has never returned a child to foreign parents.

The House foreign affairs subcommittee on human rights approved a bill that would pave the way to call off cultural or scientific exchanges or deny export licenses to countries that do not promptly seek to resolve abduction cases.

“Our current system with its endless delays and lack of proper accountability has failed too many,” said Representative Chris Smith, a Republican from New Jersey and chairman of the subcommittee.

“It is time for an approach that backs our demands for adherence to international obligations with penalties and makes very clear to foes and friends alike that our children are our priority,” he said.

The measure still needs approval from the full committee and House of Representatives along with the Senate to become law.

While the bill would apply to all countries, the United States has the most pending cases with Japan where U.S. parents have pursued more than 120 cases to seek access to their half-Japanese children.

Japanese courts virtually never grant custody to foreign parents, especially men, and authorities have never returned overseas a child snatched to Japan.

Japan long argued that it is protecting women from abuse. But under growing foreign pressure, Japanese leaders have voiced support for ratifying the 1980 Hague convention that requires countries to return children to the country where they usually live.

But even if Japan signed the treaty, it would only apply to future cases.

Doug Berg, who served with the U.S. military in Japan, said that his two children were abducted in 2009 and that he has not heard from them even after last year’s devastating tsunami.

“The only time I ever get to see them, really, is when I dream about them. I don’t know where they’re living. I’m not allowed to know,” he said.

“That’s a shame that we call that country an ally of ours,” he said.

The bill would call on the president to make a diplomatic demarche to another country if a child abduction case is pending for more than six weeks.

If a country has 10 or more cases pending, the United States could take tougher action such as refusing to grant export licenses for goods, withholding aid and canceling exchanges or official visits.

Japan Today

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20-year-old woman arrested for attempting to kill 3-month-old daughter

Posted on March 28, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , |

Mar. 28, 2012 – OKAYAMA

Police said Tuesday they have arrested a 20-year-old woman in Okayama for the attempted murder of her three-month-old daughter.

Tomomi Takimura was arrested at her home on Monday after she called the emergency services at around 3 p.m. and told them that she had strangled her baby. Emergency services informed the police who took Takimura into custody, according to a TBS report.

During police questioning, Takimura was quoted as saying that she had slapped and strangled her baby daughter because she wouldn’t stop crying.

Police say Takimura denies intent to murder the girl, who is currently in hospital while doctors assess the damage caused by the stoppage of oxygen to her brain, TBS reported.

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Kagoshima woman held over murder of her 3 children

Posted on March 27, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

Mar. 25, 2012 KAGOSHIMA —

Police on Sunday arrested a 37-year-old woman for allegedly strangling her three children to death on Saturday afternoon at their home in Kagoshima.

According to police, the suspect, identified as Satomi Fukutomi allegedly killed her sons aged 10 and 8, and her 4-year-old daughter some time after 3 p.m., TV Asahi reported. Her 39-year-old husband was at work at the time and discovered the bodies when he returned home at about 8 p.m.

Police said the woman had slit her wrists in an apparent suicide attempt, but is in a stable condition, TV Asahi reported. Police quoted her as saying that she wanted to kill herself and see her children. So far, the suspect has given no motive for the killings, TV Asahi reported.

Neighbors told TV media they were surprised at the murders and said the family seemed a happy one.

Japan Today

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“Children First” Prime Minister NODA’s KEYWORDS November 18, 2011

Posted on March 22, 2012. Filed under: Japanese policy, Uplifting Stories | Tags: , , , , |

Children First
Prime Minister NODA’s KEYWORDS November 18 (Friday) 14:50

October 31, 2011, in response to a question from Representative Yuko Obuchi during the Plenary Session of the House of Representatives

“Measures to address the declining birthrate are a pressing matter of importance, in light of the arrival of a society whose decline in population is underway in earnest. For that reason, we must stand by the principle of ‘children first’ and strengthen our support for the child-raising generation both nationally and regionally in order to enhance social security more fully during the first half of people’s lives.”
Interactions between fathers and children are the starting point of education
October 14, 2011, during a visit to facilities providing child-rearing assistance
“There is a theory that the Japanese character used in the first half of the word ‘education’ kyouiku derives from first writing the character for ‘father’ and then the character for ‘child’ below it, and then the character for ‘interact’ alongside it to the right. Interactions between fathers and children are the starting point of education.”

A country that devotes attention to its children
October 14, 2011, during a visit to facilities providing child-rearing assistance
“Meiji-era Japan was viewed by other countries as a country in which parents doted greatly on their children.  Consequently, I consider it important for us to promote the principle of ‘children first.’”

Children’s smiling faces also bring smiles to the faces of their mothers and fathers
October 14, 2011, during a visit to facilities providing child-rearing assistance
“I have been moved by children’s smiling faces beyond the extent of this visit.  When children are smiling, their smiles spread to their mothers and fathers as well.  Thus, a society of ‘children first’ is a society that nurtures smiling faces in everyone.”


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Woman arrested for fatally abusing 1-month-old daughter

Posted on March 17, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

Mar. 17, 2012 – HYOGO —

Police in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, said Friday they have arrested a 37-year-old woman over the death of her 1-month-old daughter.

According to police, the suspect, identified as Chieko Yamaguchi, allegedly abused her daughter Rina sometime between 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 10:40 p.m. Thursday night. During that time, there was no one else at home, NTV reported.

Yamaguchi’s husband was away on a business trip and the couple’s 4-year-old daughter was at her grandmother’s place.

On Thursday afternoon, the grandmother was talking to Chieko on the phone when the connection was cut off. She went over to see if everything was OK. She found Rina unconsciousness in the living room and called 119. Rina was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later, NTV reported.

Chieko was quoted by police as saying that the infant wouldn’t stop crying and that she must have smothered her. She told police that she had worried before about being able to look after her daughter, NTV reported.

Japan Today

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Woman arrested for abusing 2-week-old twins

Posted on March 14, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , , , |

Mar. 14, 2012 – SHIZUOKA —
Police said Tuesday they have arrested a 23-year-old woman for allegedly assaulting her newborn twins.

The woman, who has been named as Ayana Nakano from Shizuoka, is accused of assaulting her two-week-old babies in March of last year during a trip to her parents’ house in Fukuroi, Fuji TV reported. The attack allegedly included dashing them on the ground, causing serious injuries.

The attack came to light after the children underwent a medical check a month after their birth. Medical staff reportedly became suspicious and contacted child services.

A police investigation has revealed that one of the babies sustained a fractured skull in the attack, from which she took three months to heal. The other child sustained injuries to her head, arms and legs which police say took a month to heal, Fuji reported.

During police questioning, Nakano was quoted as saying that she couldn’t sleep because the children wouldn’t stop crying at night. She said she panicked and lashed out at them.

Japan Today

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19-yr-old man arrested for beating girlfriend’s 2-yr-old son to death

Posted on March 11, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , |

Mar. 11, 2012 – KITAKYUSHU —

Police in Kitakyushu said Saturday they have arrested a 19-year-old man for allegedly beating a 2-year-old boy to death.

According to police, the man assaulted Kiyora Ikeda, his girlfriend’s son, at her apartment on March 7 at around midnight, while the boy’s mother was at work, TBS reported.

An autopsy revealed that the child had sustained ruptured internal organs.

Police say the suspect, who cannot be named because he is a monor, has so far denied the charges. During police questioning, the accused told investigators he hit the boy in the head to discipline him but added he did not punch him in the stomach, TBS reported.

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Man given 10 years for sexually assaulting stepdaughter

Posted on March 10, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , , |

OKAYAMA — A 50-year-old man was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Okayama District Court on March 7 for sexually assaulting his stepdaughter.

In the ruling, the presiding judge said, “It was utterly detestable behavior that stomped on the rights of the victim.”

According to the ruling, since 1994 the defendant committed repeated sexual molestations of the stepdaughter, who is now 29. The ruling says that in December of 2009, the defendant took advantage of the stepdaughter’s inability to resist due to psychological terror and twice committed sexual assaults on her.

“The defendant took advantage of the victim’s inability to resist caused by frequent abuse. The victim’s physical and mental pain was extreme,” said the presiding judge.

After the ruling, the victim spoke at a press conference, saying, “I want people who have experienced the same abuse to know there is a way to file claims.” After consulting with a man she was in a relationship with, the woman filed claims last year with the support of the private association Victim Support Center Okayama (VSCO).

A VSCO spokesperson said, “Many people cannot file claims over sexual abuse by family members. We hope this case will cause more people to step forward.”

準強姦:再婚相手の娘に性的虐待 男に懲役10年の判決

2012年3月7日 18時36分 更新:3月7日 22時8分

再婚相手の長女に性的暴行を加えたとして準強姦(ごうかん)と準強制わいせつの罪に問われた岡山県内の男(50)に対する判決公判が7日、岡山地 裁であった。田尻克已裁判長は「被害者の人格を踏みにじった卑劣極まりない行為だ」として懲役10年(求刑・懲役15年)を言い渡した。

判決によると、被告は94年ごろから再婚相手の長女(29)に性的虐待を繰り返し、恐怖心から抵抗できないことに乗じて09年12月に2回、自宅 で性的暴行を加えた。田尻裁判長は「日常的な暴力で逆らえないことにつけ込んだ。被害者の肉体的、精神的苦痛は甚大だ」と述べた。

被害者の女性は判決後に記者会見、「同じような被害に遭っている人に、訴える手段があると知ってほしい」と訴えた。女性は交際相手の男性に相談、 民間団体「被害者サポートセンターおかやま(VSCO)」の支援も受け昨年告訴した。同センターは「身内からの性的虐待は、被害を訴え出られない人が多 い。同様の被害者が一歩踏み出すきっかけになれば」と話した。【五十嵐朋子】

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Record high for youth suicide / Suicide rates among students increased nearly 11% last year

Posted on March 10, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , |

The Yomiuri Shimbun

The number of students who committed suicide last year in the country hit a record figure of 1,029, up 101 cases or 10.9 percent from the previous year, the National Police Agency said Friday.

It was the first time that the number exceeded 1,000 since the NPA started recording statistics in 1978.

The NPA also reported the total number of suicides across the nation has exceeded 30,000 for 14 consecutive years up to 2011, though the number declined by 1,039, or 3.3 percent, to 30,651 from the previous year.

Of the students, the number of university students who killed themselves rose by 16 to 529 from the previous year while the number of high school students who did so increased by 65 to 269, according to the NPA. The combined figures accounted for about 80 percent of the total number of students who committed suicide.

By age group, the number of people 19 or younger who committed suicide rose by 12.7 percent to 622 from the previous year, and the figure for those in their 20s increased by 2 percent to 3,302.

Of the students, 140 committed suicide due to academic underachievement and 136 did so due to worries about their future after leaving school, the NPA said.

Of the total, the number of males who killed themselves decreased by 1,328 to 20,955 from the previous year, and the number of females increased by 289 to 9,696. The number of female suicides exceeded 30 percent of the total for the first time since 1997.

By age, suicide victims in their 60s numbered 5,547 and formed the largest group among all age brackets, though the figure was down 6.1 percent from the previous year.

Among the reasons given for 22,581 people committing suicide, the largest portion, 14,621, or 65 percent, left indications that they had killed themselves due to health problems. The reasons were found in suicide notes or other evidence.

Those who committed suicide because of economic problems totaled 6,406, those who did so due to domestic problems numbered 4,547. School issues accounted for 429 cases, according to the NPA.

Meanwhile, 56 people killed themselves for reasons related to the Great East Japan Earthquake in the period from June 2011 through January this year, according to the Cabinet Office.

Regarding reasons for the disaster-related suicides, health issues and economic woes were cited as the main reasons for 16 victims respectively.


Young people suffering

Universities and other organizations across the nation have begun efforts to understand young persons’ anguish.

“I can’t imagine a better life in the future. I feel it is easier to die [than to keep living],” a long-haired boy in his late teens wearing jeans was quoted as saying by Yusen Maeda, a chief priest of a temple in Minato Ward, Tokyo.

At his temple, Maeda, 41, counsels and discusses the problems of young people seeking his advice.

In the winter of 2008, a university student came to the temple and told Maeda he was unable to join a social circle or make friends with any classmates, even after six months had passed since he entered the university.

“I don’t know why I’m living,” he was quoted as saying.

Because the student spoke in a calm manner, Maeda did not feel a sense of urgency in his message. However, he then found fresh scars from wrist-cutting on both of his arms.

The student, who met Maeda about 100 times over three years, quit university. He now is going to technical school for music in hopes of becoming a musician.

“It seems he finally found a life of his own after experiencing agony. I think there should be more places where young people can bare their true feelings,” Maeda said.

Tsukuba University has a psychiatrist and counselor on campus on a regular basis.

According to the university’s lecturer Jun Sato, 39, who meets with students for consultations, many of the students are worried about getting jobs and having relationships with friends. And an increasing number of students are in financial distress, he said.

Tsukuba, Yamaguchi and other universities have created a manual for teachers on proper relationships with students.

Toyama University set up a suicide prevention office at the end of 2009.

The office sometimes confirms the safety of students whose parents cannot contact them by visiting the students’ dwellings.

“There is little chance lately [for young people] to be present at the deathbeds of [relatives] at home. I think death has become a less serious issue because of TV games and other things. We need to teach them the importance of life and death,” said Hironobu Ichikawa, advisor at Tokyo Metropolitan Children’s Medical Center.

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Kagoshima woman arrested for abusing 11-month-old baby boy

Posted on March 8, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , , |

Mar. 08, 2012 -KAGOSHIMA
A 28-year-old woman in Airai, Kagoshima Prefecture, has been arrested for allegedly assaulting her 11-month-old baby boy, police said Wednesday.

According to police, the woman, who has been identified as Kaori Uchida, allegedly assaulted her baby in an attack, or attacks, which included shaking him violently on a regular basis last year, NTV reported. Doctors say the baby sustained brain damage as a result.

Police say they believe the woman may have committed similar assaults against her seven-year-old daughter and six-year-old son in the past. Both children have now been taken into protective custody.

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12-year-old girl killed after lying down on railway tracks

Posted on March 2, 2012. Filed under: Abuse Neglect Death | Tags: , , , |

Mar. 01, 2012 – 06:45AM TOKYO

A 12-year-old girl was killed after she lay down on railway tracks and waited for a speeding train in an apparent suicide, Tokyo police said Wednesday.

The elementary school student died after she was hit by a freight train just after 5 a.m. on the JR Yokosuka line between Nishi-Oi and Musashikosugi stations in Shinagawa Ward on Tuesday.

A letter from the girl that appeared to be a farewell note was found at her home.

“Given the circumstances, we suspect she committed suicide,” a police spokesman said.

Japan has one of the world’s highest suicide rates, with more than 31,000 people taking their own lives in 2010.

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