• Kyodo

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A 19-year-old man was sentenced Tuesday to three to five years in prison for fatally abusing the 4-year-old son of his lover here in 2003.

The man, whose name was withheld because he is a minor, punched and kicked Yuki Morishima at his mother’s home in Showa Ward on Oct. 19, 2003, until the boy died, according to the Nagoya District Court.

The youth, then a high school student, was dating the boy’s mother, Aya, at the time of the crime.

He was said to have abused the boy repeatedly in the past and has also been charged with assaulting the boy’s mother.

Prosecutors had demanded five to 10 years in prison.

Presiding Judge Shinichiro Ito determined the youth committed the crime in a state of “psychological confusion” due to an “extraordinary” relationship with the victim’s mother.

While people around him and the mother learned of the habitual abuse of the boy, they failed to make sufficient efforts to stop him, the judge pointed out.

“As the trial proceeded, (the youth) has come to realize the grave nature of his crime and problems in his character, and he is increasingly repentant of what he had done,” the judge said as he handed down the sentence.

The youth’s defense had argued his case should be turned over to the Nagoya Family Court so he could be either placed under probation or sent to a juvenile correctional institution.

The youth was of an “immature character” when he committed the crime, due to excessive discipline imposed by his own parents and bullying at school, the lawyers told the court.

However, the judge determined the youth receive criminal punishment. His relationship with the parents and the bullying cannot be considered a special factor that sets him apart from others of his generation, and he had the mental competency to control his actions, the judge said.

Last month, Aya Morishima was given a suspended two-year prison term by the same court for aiding and abetting in the boy’s death. She has appealed to a higher court.

In finding Morishima guilty, the court accused her of not listening to the advice of the people around her to end the relationship with the youth, because she did not want to lose the lover and she assumed the violence against the son would someday end.

While the defense argued she tried to stop the lover’s violence, the court determined she had not done enough even though she was the only person the son could rely on.

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