FUKUOKA – A mother and her boyfriend were found guilty Wednesday of forcing the woman’s 8-year-old daughter into a cold bath on multiple occasions by binding her wrists and ankles.
The Fukuoka District Court sentenced the 30-year-old man, Jun Yahiro, to three years in prison, suspended for five years with probation, and the mother to two years in prison, suspended for four years with probation.
The mother’s name is being withheld to prevent the girl from being identified. Prosecutors had sought three-year prison terms for both the 30-year-old mother and the boyfriend who lived with the two.
According to the ruling, Yahiro and the woman bound her daughter’s wrists and ankles with plastic tape and forced her into a cold bath at their home in Chikushino, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Dec. 29, 2018, and Jan. 24, 2019.
“(Yahiro) caused great mental and physical pain to the child by leaving her in a cold bath for more than an hour during winter,” presiding Judge Tadayuki Okazaki said, also criticizing the mother for not protecting the child.
Yahiro was suspected of hitting the girl several times around midnight on Jan. 24, while the mother allegedly injured her daughter the same day, according to police. A teacher at the girl’s elementary school found bruises on her body Jan. 25 and the school informed a local child welfare center, which took her into protective custody the same day and reported to police.
The woman and Yahiro admitted to the allegations according to the police, with the mother quoted by the police as saying, “I did it to discipline her because she had wet the bed.”
Investigators suspected the girl may have been subject to daily abuse.
In 2018, the death of a 5-year-old girl in Tokyo gripped the nation’s attention as she had left desperate written pleas for her parents to “forgive” her and stop mistreating her.
Child abuse cases in Japan have recently drawn the spotlight again after the death in January last year of a 10-year-old girl following alleged maltreatment by her parents, including food and sleep deprivation.