Welfare authorities in Kagoshima Prefecture failed to take a 4-year-old girl, Riara Otsuka, into protective custody before her death last week due to alleged abuse by her mother's boyfriend, despite repeated requests from police to do so, Kagoshima Prefectural Police Department has said.

The case comes after a series of fatal child abuse cases over the last two years in which authorities were found to have failed to act.

The latest revelation came after the police department on Saturday arrested Shun Hiwatashi, a 21-year-old construction worker and the live-in boyfriend of Otsuka's mother, for allegedly hitting the girl in the head at their home in the city of Izumi last Tuesday, police said.