OSAKA — Osaka Prefectural Police on Wednesday arrested a 66-year-old man and his 64-year-old sister for allegedly allowing her five adult offspring to starve to death.
The five — aged between 27 and 41 — were found dead at their home in Sennan, Osaka Prefecture, in mid-August.
The two arrested were named as Takao Wakasa and his sister, Akiko. Investigators suspect the family had unique religious beliefs that led them to shun participation in society. They believe Akiko was considered their guru.
Police said they would question Akiko and her brother to gain a better understanding of the circumstances that led to the deaths.
The suspects acknowledged their responsibility but did not contact police after the five died because they feared they would be persecuted for their religious beliefs.
Investigators said the two refused to give Akiko’s son Minoru and her daughters, Suiko, Kaoru, Aiko and Hiromi, anything except water from June until they died between the end of that month and early August.
They reportedly did nothing after the five began to weaken dramatically.
The two suspects explained to the dying siblings that their actions were based on “a calling from god,” police said.
The deaths came to light in mid-August after relatives, sensing something was wrong at the house, notified police.
At that time, the pair told police they had run out of money and that the children had died of starvation.
They added that they had also been planning to die.
Both were hospitalized and treated for malnutrition for roughly 11/2 months.
The arrests were made after they were released from the hospital.
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