• Kyodo


An Okayama Prefecture couple were arrested Monday on charges of leaving their 2-year-old daughter to die after she suffered serious burns in a hot shower last month.

The father, Kazutoshi Aki, 39, of Tamano, told police there was no intent to kill.

But they quoted his wife, Midori, 40, as saying: “I was filling the bathtub with water. Just when I went to the kitchen to turn off the gas stove, my daughter touched the shower lever and poured hot water on herself. I thought I wouldn’t mind if she died, as she was an unwanted child.”

Police charged the couple with murder, saying there was conscious neglect on their part.

According to an investigation, the couple allegedly waited for more than a week before taking the child, Miho, to a hospital. The girl sustained the burns at around 11 p.m. Oct. 25.

When the couple brought Miho to a hospital in Tamano at around 5:55 p.m. Sunday, she had already died of circulatory failure from the burns, which covered her face and back, police said. The hospital subsequently alerted the police.

The child’s body showed no indication of regular abuse, they said. An autopsy showed she died of septicemia, or blood poisoning.

Kazutoshi, for his part, denied any intent to kill the girl, claiming he left her in the care of his wife because she said she would seek treatment for her, police said.

Police said the Akis have five daughters, including Miho, whose father is different from the other four children.

Soon after she was born, the girl was left in the care of a welfare facility, and it was only in April that she began living with her parents again, they said, without elaborating.

A 44-year-old housewife who lives in the same neighborhood as the Akis said she had only seen the child who died three times since the spring.

“I would think a child of 2 would be outside playing a lot, but I rarely saw her,” she said. “I did think it a bit odd at the time.”

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.