Woman calls for new crime category to stem child abuse
Sunday 08th August, 03:52 PM JST
A 34-year-old woman in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, is collecting signatures to call for the creation of a new crime category to stem the soaring number of child abuse cases in Japan—abuse resulting in death or injury.
After being frustrated that many parents, whose abuse led to the death of their children, have still evaded murder charges due to investigators’ recognition that they lacked murderous intent, Hiroko Narita, a company employee, said she hopes her campaign will help raise public awareness that child abuse is a felony.
She and her supporters, mainly mothers of young children, have so far collected signatures in Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures and on the Internet from more than 60,000 people, and aim to raise the figure to more than 200,000.
Narita came up with the idea of creating a new crime category to specifically punish the act of child abuse after she learned about the case of 9-year-old Seika Matsumoto of Osaka’s Nishiyodogawa Ward. Matsumoto died in April 2009 after her mother and her common-law husband allegedly used harsh physical violence on her and neglected to provide her with sufficient food.
The two claimed that their act was intended to be discipline. While the crime of murder carries the maximum penalty of the death sentence, they were charged with ‘‘negligence as guardians resulting in death,’’ a crime that can be punished with an imprisonment of up to 20 years, with the mother later sentenced by the court to eight years and six months in prison and the man 12 years in prison.
‘‘Abuse by parents, who are supposed to love and care for their children, can thoroughly damage the children’s bodies and minds,’’ said Narita.
She said she herself was victimized by her mother’s abusive behaviors when she was in elementary school. Her mother would become angry at small things she did, and drag her around in a room of their house by pulling her hair. One snowy night, Narita had to lie down on a bench in a park after her mother locked her out of the house.
Narita still remembers the pain of feeling, ‘‘I am an unwanted child.’‘
But she said harsher punishments alone are not an answer for reducing child abuse cases, as she believes the distribution of pamphlets bearing contact numbers for reporting suspected cases is important, as well as making it easier for authorities to forcibly enter houses where parents are suspected to be abusing their children.
According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, child abuse cases handled by consultation offices in Japan hit a record 44,210 in fiscal 2009, rising for 19 straight years since statistics were first compiled in fiscal 1990.
But there was only one case in which counselors made a compulsory visit to a household, where child abuse was suspected after the family had rejected the investigation, during the reporting year that ended in March.
In a recent high-profile case in Osaka’s Nishi Ward in which two toddlers were found dead in an apartment after their mother abandoned them, a resident reported to counselors three times about the children’s crying but the counselors did not attempt to enter the apartment.
‘‘I hope our activities will lead to rising awareness about the issue and the creation of a better safety net protecting children,’’ Narita said.
Man arrested for beating 5-year-old daughter in Wakayama
Tuesday 10th August, 10:28 AM JST
Police arrested a 29-year-old man on Monday on suspicion of child abuse after receiving a report from his five-year-old daughter’s kindergarten in Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, that the girl had come to school with injuries to her face.
Masataka Kobatake is suspected of using his fists to hit the girl on Sunday afternoon, leaving bruises and other injuries on her face. Kobatake was quoted by police as saying that he was just trying to discipline the girl.
Authorities say that the local child welfare office had been receiving calls about Kobatake from relatives since 2008.
Authorities say that the local child welfare office had been receiving calls about Kobatake from relatives since 2008
RandyDickson wrote:I wish they'd enact more laws to protect children in this country. This thread is testament to the fact that they're currently insufficient.
Japanese student charged after baby’s body found in Victoria-area house
A Japanese woman has been charged after a dead baby, believed to be hers, was found in a plastic bag at a house in a Victoria suburb, police said.
Narumi Bito, 20, who is studying in Canada, was charged with failing to make provisions to properly deliver the child, which is believed to have died shortly after birth.
So far, the cause of the child's death is unknown and police are waiting on an autopsy report to get a clearer idea of what happened.
“It could be anywhere from [a situation where] there's no crime here, to a serious offence,” said Saanich Police Sergeant Dean Jantzen.
Police were called Monday at 9:30 a.m. to a boarding house overlooking a lake on Saanich Road in a quiet residential neighbourhood by someone at the residence who was concerned for the well-being of Ms. Bito, who rents a room there.
At the scene, police discovered the baby's body in a plastic bag. They said it had been there since Sept. 17.
None of the other residents of the house are considered suspects in the investigation and they have all been co-operating with detectives, Sgt. Jantzen said.
Police and the coroner are continuing their investigation.
Woman, father held on suspicion of burning baby's body in park
Crime Jan. 20, 2012 - 03:46PM JST
Police in Fukui on Friday arrested a 23-year-old woman and her 51-year-old father on suspicion of burning the body of her dead newborn son in a park in December.
According to police, the infant’s mother, identified as Momoko Miyanaga, and her father, Yoshihiro Miyanaga, have admitted to the charges.
Momoko was quoted by police as saying that she gave birth at her home in November 2010. She said the child died immediately and that she hid the body for nearly a year in her room. After she told her her father in December 2011, he burned the body in a park and brought the bones back home, according to Jiji Press.
Police on Friday found bones believed to be the remains of the infant. The family of six lived in a big two-story house, local media reported.
SamhainP8 wrote:This is very old news but still insightful.
This incident is regarded as the principal reason the Japanese Government began to consider the legalisation of abortion in Japan. One of the reasons this incident was thought to have occurred was as the result of an increase in the number of unwanted infants born in Japan. On July 13, 1948, the Eugenic Protection Law (now the Mother's Body Protection Law) and a national examination system for midwives was established. On June 24, 1949, abortion for economic reasons was legalised under the Eugenic Protection Law in Japan.
Two-year sentence sought for woman who dumped baby daughter's body in woods
Crime Apr. 20, 2012 - 07:00AM JST
The prosecution in the case of a woman who dumped the body of her 2-year-old daughter on Thursday called for a two-year sentence.
Yuko Emoto, 35, was arrested in February for abandoning a corpse after the partial remains of her her 2-year-old daughter, Kotone, were found in the woods near her house in Hijimachi, Oita Prefecture, last September.
The case received a lot of publicity when Emoto claimed that Kotone had been abducted from a parked car outside a supermarket. Emoto told police she had left her daughter in the child seat in back of her car while she went into the Marushoku Kawasaki supermarket. She said she had been gone about five minutes, and when she returned to the car, her daughter was missing.
Police launched a massive search for the girl, but to no avail.
Emoto was arrested after she confessed that the abduction story had been a lie and that she had actually buried the girl’s body in the mountains.
After recommending a two-year-sentence, the prosecutor said Emoto’s actions were rash and inconsiderate, and that she had had caused a lot of problems for a lot of people, Fuji TV reported. Counsel for the defense, appealing for a suspended sentence, responded that Emoto did not deny the charges, but she has faced up to what she has done and has sincerely apologized for her actions.
Emoto is scheduled to be sentenced on May 29.
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