• Kyodo


A 35-year-old woman has been arrested in Chiba Prefecture for allegedly forcing her 5-year-old daughter — who is allergic to dairy products — to drink milk, causing a severe allergic reaction.

Police arrested Chiharu Saku, a company worker who lives in the city of Nagareyama, on suspicion of attempted murder. Saku is alleged to have knowingly forced her daughter to drink milk despite her allergy. The reaction, called anaphylactic shock, involves breathing difficulties and can be life-threatening, according to the police.

Saku is suspected of forcing her daughter to drink the contents of a 125-milliliter milk carton on Sunday, police said. The daughter was hospitalized but is recovering, they said.

Saku had been instructed by doctors to feed her daughter only small amounts of milk, so that her system can become used to dairy products gradually.

Saku admitted to giving milk to her daughter but claims that she was “emotionally unstable,” according to police.

According to investigators, the daughter experienced difficulty breathing and other symptoms immediately after she drank the milk, prompting the mother to call an ambulance.

When rescuers arrived, Saku was performing first aid. The hospital later informed police that the girl may have been abused. The mother and daughter live by themselves.

In 2012, a fifth-grader with a dairy allergy died in Chofu, western Tokyo, after she ate a lunch containing a small amount of cheese as an ingredient. There had been no explanation that the food contained dairy products. The girl had an anaphylactic reaction and was pronounced dead after being rushed to a hospital.

According to a local child consultation center, Saku had called the facility several times since April claiming she couldn’t bear raising her child anymore and wanted her to be taken away.

After Saku had apparently calmed down, the center concluded that the daughter did not need to be taken away.

After the recent incident, Nagareyama police informed the center that Saku had sought help in July. At the time, the center concluded that no immediate action was necessary without interviewing her.

“We will verify whether there was something we have overlooked,” a representative for the center said.

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