Yua Funato is seen in this image taken from the Facebook page of her mother Yuri Funato.

11-year term prison sought for mother over fatal abuse of 5-year-old daughter


Prosecutors sought an 11-year prison term Monday for the mother of a 5-year-old girl who died last year after allegedly being mistreated at home, the latest development in a case that caused such public outcry it prompted Japan to revise its child protection laws.

Yuri Funato, 27, is accused of causing her daughter's death from sepsis in March 2018. It is alleged Funato had not fed her daughter Yua adequately since around late January last year, resulting in the child developing pneumonia.

She also did not take her daughter to a hospital in late February last year when her condition seriously deteriorated after the abuse she allegedly had been subjected to by her 34-year-old stepfather, Yudai Funato, according to the indictment. The couple are now divorced.

"How much (Yua) would have regretted her future was taken away is immeasurable and this is extremely grave," prosecutors said.

The mother said her daughter's life "was more important than mine" and will "receive punishment seriously" for "having left Yua's mind and body in tatters."

The mother's defense team has argued she was powerless to stop her then-husband, as she was also the target of his psychological abuse, and are seeking a five-year prison term.

Yua's stepfather has been indicted on charges of assaulting his daughter, and negligence resulting in her death.

The mother has admitted parental neglect resulting in the girl's death, saying in a hearing at the Tokyo District Court that she had to obey her husband's orders to stop her daughter from being harmed.

"I was desperate to follow his orders like a robot," she said. "I can only keep apologizing to Yua."

The court will hand down its ruling on the mother on Sept 17. Yudai's trial begins on Oct 1.

Monday's trial was delayed by five hours until 3 p.m. due to Typhoon Faxai, which hit Tokyo and other eastern Japan areas on Sunday night and Monday morning.

According to prosecutors, Yua was forced by her stepfather to write her weight and the time of her meals in a notebook from Feb 8 to Feb 27 last year after she moved to Tokyo from Kagawa Prefecture in western Japan.

In the notebook, she also wrote messages such as "Please forgive me," according to the prosecutors.

Yua's death on March 2, 2018, in Tokyo's Meguro Ward, attracted nationwide attention and prompted Japan to enact revised laws in June this year, banning parents and other guardians from physically punishing children and strengthening the ability of child welfare centers to intervene in a case when abuse is suspected.


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Should be double that at least. Here's hoping she rots for 11years though

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is important to understand that people who are desperate or insane enough to abuse (their own) children would never consider something like a prison/capital punishment to be a deterrent. It happens on a whim, a spike of negative emotions, or has long become trivial for the culprit to even think about whether it is bad and what it means for the culprit (the abuser). This all prison-ing for abusers is really not a solution and does not affect the issue significantly. The only plus is that the people who keep reading these news become more aware and one day the mass will push through solid, necessary legislative to protect children and their to-be abusers, but right now this is just a seemingly never-ending cycle. The problematic is without a doubt more complex andprofound, both culturally, legally and philosophically, than the average "user" of this news outlet can handle with their mind. "LAYLA LEYLA DEDLEE DEE, Bring me rope and find me tree". And still the children are suffering.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Perfect candidate for Eugenics, she should never be allowed to have children plus the 11 year prison term with psychiatric treatment.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

She is only sorry she was caught.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The laws in Japan show that Life is not important because you can be reborn. This is instilled into the people. But this is not Om Mani Padme Hung.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

That photo always brings tears to my eyes. Such a beautiful, happy girl, not yet knowing the horrors waiting for her. Locked outside on Christmas morning...it makes me weep. RIP little one.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Lock both of these monsters up and throw away the key.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Hug your children and tell them you love them.

If you do not have children hug your friends and family and tell them.

Let your love shine in Yua's memory.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sweet headline. 11-year Term Prison.

Hey Judge: Don't make it a suspended sentence, whatever it is.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

1: Give them both a brutal sentence.

2: Publicize it nationwide and get the message out to would be child abusers.......'Lay an abusive finger on a child and you will rot in jail for a looong time'.

3: Provide mandatory state sponsored child raising training for young parents at the local community center, health center, etc.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I would be satisfied if the laws were changed so that any adult convicted of murdering any child automatically got a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Increase funding for women's shelters and support and access of support for victims of domestic violence.

Young single mother, low self-esteem, probably low educational abilities, indebted to controlling violent second husband/boyfriend.

Japanese society is not so liberal when it comes to second and later marriages, it's not so easy for women to reach out; too little support, too many other factors like shame and face involved.

Unless you've had direct experience of women in such relationships, it's hard to understand.

The Asahi covers the story in more detail.


0 ( +0 / -0 )

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