Mom, son who fled abuse found starved to death


A 28-year-old woman found dead with her 3-year-old son in an apartment in Osaka’s Kita Ward last Friday, apparently of starvation, may have been the victim of domestic violence, investigative sources said Tuesday, noting her family had contacted police about the alleged abuse.

Mitsuyo Inoue may have secretly moved to the apartment with her son, Rui, sometime around last October to escape from her husband and then, for unknown reasons, apparently failed to contact anyone for help, police said, adding the two apparently starved to death around February in the flat, whose utilities were cut off and which lacked food or a refrigerator.

According to police, Inoue lived in the city of Moriguchi, next to Osaka, with her husband and son until around last October. She never registered as a resident of Osaka after moving. In the apartment, investigators found unfiled divorce papers signed by Inoue and her husband.

Around early October, before Inoue moved out, Inoue’s mother contacted police, saying she was worried for her daughter’s life. A police officer made a follow-up visit to Inoue at her Moriguchi home, but she offered no details and the officer didn’t notice signs of domestic violence, sources said.

  • Sam

    What sad, sad situation…RIP

  • dd

    What a tragedy, but I think this title is terribly misleading. Abuse is awful and should not be in any home, but the article only says there was alleged abuse. Even if that is true, this situation begs the question what happened in the period after the mother and child fled in October up until their death? There are DV shelters and other public services for parents in such situations, and I think it could have been criminal on the mother’s part to have allowed her child to starve to death. It’s not crystal clear, but in a way I feel this article is saying that the alleged abuse is a sufficiently justifiable reason for this tragedy to have occurred and I couldn’t disagree more.

  • David Foley

    This looks to me like it may be pitched as an example of why Japan traditionally allows mothers custody and doesn`t protect a fathers rights to see their child. With Japan’s entrance into the Hague Convention coming soon, I have noticed many articles and talk shows (ザ・ボイス) talk about Japan‘s culture of allowing mothers full custody of children after divorce to have its roots in keeping abusive fathers out of the life of the child. Though abuse may have been a factor in this tragedy, I hope that the Japanese government sponsored media doesn‘t try and pitch this as an example of why they will not allow for joint custody in Japan.

    As far as this tragedy goes, I agree that the mother is just as criminal as the father if there actually was abuse. It is a sad story.

  • Max Erimo

    Terribly sad story. Shows the lack of thinking when it comes to DV in Japan.
    The politicians and police believe that it is not a problem, because it happens inside the family unit, which is sacred here in Japan. These are very important areas that should be dealt with.
    In a time when there are so few children, to lose one like this is a tragedy.
    To lose a child at all, when preventable, is unspeakable.