Feb 5, 2019

Mother held over death of girl admits withholding food from her

Mother held over death of girl admits withholding food from her photo

CHIBA, Japan - The mother of a 10-year-old girl who died last month at their home in Chiba Prefecture has told police that she sometimes gave no food to the girl at her husband's insistence in the days before her death, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Nagisa Kurihara, 31, was sent to prosecutors the same day following her arrest a day earlier for allegedly failing to stop her husband Yuichiro, 41, from assaulting their daughter Mia.

Mia was found dead on Jan. 24 with multiple bruises on her body inside the bathroom of their home in the city of Noda. Yuichiro was arrested the next day on suspicion of assault, but an autopsy has failed to determine the cause of Mia's death.

While Mia was not underweight to an extreme degree, the autopsy revealed there was almost no food inside her stomach, indicating she had not been fed sufficiently, according to the sources.

Mother held over death of girl admits withholding food from her photo

(Apartment block where fourth-grader Mia Kurihara lived in the city of Noda, near Tokyo)

Prior to her arrest, the mother told investigators that, despite her pleas not to do so, her husband sometimes woke Mia up in the middle of the night and made her stand for long periods.

Yuichiro has told investigators he began making Mia stand from 10 a.m. on Jan. 24, and that he does not consider his action wrong because he was just "disciplining" her.

He is suspected of assaulting Mia from around 10 a.m. to 11:10 p.m. the same day, including dousing her repeatedly with cold water.

Investigators have been informed that the mother herself may have been a victim of Yuichiro's domestic violence.

Mia reported to her school in Noda in 2017 that she was being "bullied" by her father, who used "violence" against her, according to local authorities.

A note taken by her classroom teacher after hearing from Mia said the mother was subjected to violence when they were living in Okinawa Prefecture, prior to moving to Chiba.

Following the report, Mia was taken into protective custody for seven weeks at a child welfare center but after this period, no visits were paid by officials of either the center or school to her home to check on her safety.



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