• Kyodo

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The Niigata Prefectural Government will provide financial support to a 19-year-old girl who was abducted and confined in a room for nine years to help her cope with the mental distress stemming from her ordeal, prefectural officials said.

The girl was abducted by Nobuyuki Sato on Nov. 13, 1990, in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture, while she was on her way home from elementary school. Until her rescue in January, she was confined for nine years and two months in a room on the second floor of Sato’s home, police said.

The girl suffers from posttraumatic stress disorder and physical injuries, including atrophied leg muscles and reduced bone mass.

The prefectural government believes it will take several years before she is able to interact socially in a normal way.

The local government considers the disorder to be a mental illness, qualifying the girl for aid under the Mental Health Law. The budget for her treatment in fiscal 2000 is 2.5 million yen, the prefectural officials said Monday.

The government set up a team to oversee her rehabilitation in April, which has already given her counseling to deal with flashbacks of her confinement.

Although victims of crime usually receive financial support, it is rare for them to receive funds for mental care.

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