HIROSHIMA — March 4th, 2016
Police have arrested the parents of an 8-month-old baby boy who was found dead of suspected malnutrition and neglect in the city of Kure in Hiroshima Prefecture.
According to police, Mao Arai, 41, and his wife Ayaka, 22, did not feed their son Rito since early February and did not take any measures to help him despite being aware that his health was deteriorating, Fuji TV reported.
On Wednesday morning, the husband called emergency services, informing them that his son’s “body was cold.” When authorities arrived at the site, they found the baby lying on a futon in a state of cardiac arrest. He was later pronounced dead.
There were no injuries on Rito’s body, but his ribs were showing and he was visibly underweight. According to investigators, he weighed four kilograms, half the average for his age.
The family lived in a two-story house, with the baby staying in a room on the first floor, Sankei Shimbun reported. Police found no other items but a futon in the child’s room and there was no baby food in the house.
Neighbors were quoted by police as saying that they weren’t aware that the couple had a child, because they had never seen him.
The two suspects are apparently providing conflicting statements, with the wife telling police that she “could not care enough for the child,” while the husband is denying neglect, saying that the baby was not weak and that they had been caring for him.
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Crime Oct. 10, 2015
Prosecutors on Friday sought a 20-year prison sentence for a man who allowed his 5-year-old son to starve to death at an abandoned apartment in Atsugi, Kanagawa Prefecture.
The Yokohama District Court heard how the skeletal remains of Riku Saito were found in an apartment abandoned by his father Yukihiro Saito, a truck driver, in May 2014, Fuji TV reported. The boy had starved to death.
One month earlier, when the boy failed to show up at the start of the school term—where he had been enrolled several years before—school officials notified a child welfare center which, in turn, contacted police in May. Police went to the apartment and found the mail had been piled up but were unable to contact the boy’s father until a week later. Saito lived in a different apartment. However, he accompanied police to the apartment where the remains of his son (given to the school as the boy’s address) were found.
Saito—who was divorced from the boy’s mother—was arrested after he admitted letting his son die due to starvation in the fall of 2006. Saito told police he moved out of the apartment shortly after.
It was learned that although officers from a local child welfare center were supposed to have visited the home to find out what had happened to the boy, they never went.
The Kanagawa Board of Education said that the elementary school where the boy had been enrolled tried to make contact with his family after he did not come to school in 2007. Officials visited the apartment several times but there was no answer and the school assumed the family had moved away and delisted the boy.
The court also heard that early one morning in October 2004, Riku had been taken into protective custody for a short time after he had run out of the house barefoot and wearing nothing but a diaper. While at the child welfare center, Riku was examined and found to have marks on his body signifying possible abuse.
A short while later, after the identity of Riku’s father was established, staff members at the child welfare center met with Yukihiro and decided that an officer from the center would visit the home to establish whether or not the environment was fit for a young child. However, over the following four years, not one visit took place.
A spokesperson for the child welfare center said at the time: “Whether or not the individual in charge of the case forgot or was too busy, we do not know, and it doesn’t matter. The fact remains that no home visits were conducted and that is a reflection of utter negligence on the part of the center.”
Staff were quoted as saying that the center was grossly understaffed at the time, potentially further contributing to the problem. “At the current time, we believe that child welfare centers are not adequately equipped to deal with cases of abuse and neglect such as this one (Riku),” said one worker. “As such, a revision of these organizations is absolutely necessary at this time to prevent similar cases of professional negligence in the future.”
The court will hand down its sentence on Oct 22.
Aug. 10, 2011 Japan Today
Police said Wednesday that a couple from Kashiwa in Chiba Prefecture, have been charged over the death of their son from starvation in May of last year. Yuzo and Satomi Kosaka, aged 39 and 27 respectively, have pleaded guilty to child neglect resulting in death.
A police spokesman told a news conference that the couple failed to provide adequate nutrition for their son, Aoshi, for around 2 1/2 years. At the time of his death, when he was two years and 10 months old, police say the boy weighed just 5.8 kilograms, around half that of an average child of his age.
At the time of the boy’s death, Yuzo Kosaka told TV reporters that the cause of death must have been due to an eating disorder or something like that. After his arrest on Tuesday, he was quoted by police as saying, “It’s not like we did nothing for him.” His wife Satomi has reportedly told police that the couple allowed the boy to starve.