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In what appears to be yet another tragic case of fatal child abuse, a 4-year-old girl in Izumi, Kagoshima Prefecture died in late August, and a 21-year-old man has been arrested for suspected violence against the victim. While the girl was found to have drowned — in the bath at her home, according to the suspect, who is the boyfriend of the victim’s mother — there were multiple bruises all over her body.

Just like in recent high-profile cases of fatal abuse of children, authorities including the city government, local child welfare center and the police had been alerted to signs that the girl was being abused, but failed to take action, such as taking her into protective custody, in time to save her life. Why they failed to do so — even though it has been emphasized over and over again that priority must be given to safety of victims of suspected abuse — needs to be closely examined.

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