• Kyodo

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A 40-year-old woman was sentenced Tuesday to seven years in prison for killing her two daughters in a murder-suicide attempt in 2001.

In handing down the ruling, presiding Judge Takuichi Kawakami of the Saitama District Court said Harumi Takahashi’s actions were selfish and short-sighted.

Prosecutors had demanded a 10-year sentence, arguing that Takahashi was fully capable of being held responsible for her actions at the time. However, the court took part of the argument of the defense into account in making its decision, saying the woman suffered from a state of depression that led her to contemplate suicide.

According to the court, Takahashi, who had worried about her disabled 6-year-old daughter’s future, planned a murder-suicide on the night of Nov. 16, 2001.

She administered sleeping pills to the 6-year-old as well as to her other daughter, who was 8, and left them in a car in a riverside park in Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, at around 11:50 p.m. Takahashi set the car on fire, killing the sisters. However, she was unable to kill herself.