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Woman, common-law husband, male friend arrested over fatal abuse of 4-year-old boy


Police in Minoh, Osaka Prefecture, have arrested a 26-year-old woman, her 24-year-old common-law husband and his 20-year-old male friend on suspicion of killing the woman’s four-year-old son.

According to police, the woman, Mai Tsutsui, called 110 at around 2:20 a.m. Monday and said her son, Ayumu, wasn’t breathing, Fuji TV reported. Police went to the apartment and found the boy lying on his bed, unconscious. He was taken to hospital where he was confirmed dead.

Police said doctors informed them that Ayumu had at least 10 bruises on his face and body.

The woman lives in a municipal housing unit with her common-law husband, Shogi Matsumoto, his friend Toshio Okura, Ayumu and her two-year-old son. Police said the two-year-old also had bruises on his body.

Neighbours were quoted by local media as saying that they would often hear the sound of children crying coming from the apartment in October and November.

Police said Matsumoto and Okura have admitted hitting Ayumu on Sunday night as a means of disciplining him, and said they knew the boy might die. They also said they hit him in front of Tsutsui. However, police said she has denied abusing her son.

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The neighbors should also receive punishment. There is an obligation to report suspected child abuse under Japanese law.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Common-law husband? Everyone I've ask tells me the term 'common-law' does not exist in Japanese, is this true?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

police said she has denied abusing her son.

you chose a man over your child you are a POS lady. the man is a thug too but a mother shoudl protect her child, rot in hell woman

3 ( +8 / -5 )

@Macv - I actually thought the same myself.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Poor kid RIP and may these animals have Lou Gehrig's.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

This is a daily case of abuse, which is not always fatal (see Hokuto for reference). The neighbours, assumed they are decent human beings who simply were not vigilant enough, are already punished by knowing their lack of action brought this infanticide.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Hokuto (2017) film.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Every man who can't see his kids because society says there is no substitute for a mother's love has a special feeling that nobody else can understand when he reads news like this.

But, my main anger is still toward the woman's partner.

I'd volunteer to share a cell with him for an hour.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm getting used to this kind of news. Which is a scary thought...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

What a flipping mess! She is 24, has/had 2 and 4 year old kids, married to another guy whose mate also lives in the public housing apartment, which would be no bigger than a shoe box. Trailer trash much? Belting the crap out of kids for discipline is a very common practice in Japan. It's most likely these trash were also brought up the same way.I very often see 'parent' lashing out at their kids in public and wonder what kind of abuse they are subjected to at home. Yeah, I was brought in the spanking generation and have had a wooden spoon and a belt used on my butt. However, that is not what I see here. I see some very malicious beltings. I very often see the smack in the head. I saw one woman smack her 10y/o sone to the ground on the train platform coz he wanted a drink and was distracting her from playing a game on her phone. I saw another woman pinch her 6y/o daughter on the leg sitting in the train. She pinched the little girl so hard it made her cry. That's just a few I've seen. My ex-wife was no better. When my daughter was about 8 months old my ex was changing her diaper. I was in another room, but could hear the commotion. Next thing I heard this huge 'smack' and my daughter started screaming. I went to find out what was going on and my ex told me she smacked her in the middle of the back because she wouldn't sit still. She had a huge red hand print in the middle of her back. I was fuming and told her to never hit her again. My ex then asked me, "At what age should i start smacking her?" My response was, "That depends on when you want me to start smacking you!"

Physical punishment is not discipline! It is abuse! I have never raised a hand to a child and have no discipline problems with any of my kids. I have never threatened them with violence either. Anybody that raises a hand to a child or threatens them with violence is a pathetic, uneducated bully and should not be a parent!

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Not often that I agree with Disillusioned.

People here often got little emotional control.

Had a wooden spoon broken over my backside, granted I truly asked for it. Got the T ' I survived the wooden Spoon'.

Never hit my son but he knew it could come, always gave him a countdown.

Countdown I never went all the way, same my folks gave you an option out.

Countdown is good to calm them, once calmed talk it over.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm not a fan of the death penalty but hang them. I'm so sick and tired of reading about innocent kids being killed by their caregivers here.

And shame on the neighbours for not calling the cops when they heard the kids constantly crying. The lack of child welfare here from the government and the public is sickening. Domestic violence is not a "family" problem but a societal problem. Something I wish Japan would understand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

like most things in japan, it's fuzzy as to what constitutes a common law marriage, but it does exist.


these three deserve to rot in hell for all i care. and any mother or father who can stand by and watch their child being fatally abused deserves the same punishment imo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Anybody that raises a hand to a child or threatens them with violence is a pathetic, uneducated bully

why do people always assume that class or education level plays some role in DV? like rich or smart people never abuse their kids or something. your education level has absolutely no bearing as to whether you will perpetrate DV or not.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

why do people always assume that class or education level plays some role in DV?

Good question. It's down to snobbery.

Violence plays across the social spectrum, it transcends all barriers and is not just a Japanese thing.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

really? hitting is not abuse?? caused death of a child, life sentence or put them in

a nut house for life.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

They probably thought it was okay, since those other parents killed their baby recently and walked away

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Japan must lead the industrialized world in cases of child abuse and infanticide. Dreadful!

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

hitting is not abuse??

Depends how you hit. A slap on the wrist or a spanking is not abuse in my opinion and is considered normal until recently where suddenly anything is considered abuse.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning physical abuse but a slap for disciplining is necessary sometimes.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

@nakanoguy01 - why do people always assume that class or education level plays some role in DV? 

Just because someone is rich or smart does not mean they are educated. The term 'educated' does not necessarily apply academic or business achievement. Any person who believes in hitting a child as a means of discipline does not have the intelligence to find alternative non-violent means of disciplining their children. Perhaps I should have said "emotionally immature". That may have been easier for you to understand. There are many forms of non-violent discipline, which are much more effective. However, due to a lack of 'education' these violent parents use physical punishment. Children are not stupid, unlike their so-called 'parents'. Children know when they are doing wrong and 99% of the time is just to get attention. The first step of being a responsible parent is to never get angry. If you get angry, you have already lost! The most effective disciplinary tool is the TV. You'd be very surprised how quickly kids will behave if you turn the TV off for five minutes. Then, there is five minutes time-out in the bedroom (sin-bin). If the kid continues to misbehave it becomes ten minutes and so on. They learn very quickly that misbehaving does not get them the attention they are craving. Meal times are another one. Many parents get very strict about meal times and make their kids stay at the table until they finish their meal. Is this education or intimidation? So what if the kid doesn't want to eat! They'll get hungry soon enough and you make them a sandwich. If they don't eat that, they'll learn that being hungry is not a good thing. Kids throwing tantrums is another one. You'd be very surprised to learn that, children who throw tantrums have parents who get angry and use physical punishment. It's a 'monkey see, monkey do' reaction. If you have a child who throws tantrums, it is your fault! Not the fault of the child! Tantrums should just be ignored until the kid calms down. Even if it is in the middle of the supermarket. Do not interact with the kid at all! He or she will calm down eventually. I have four children and five grandchildren none of which have ever had a voice raised at them, better less a hand. And, guess what? They are not disfunctional. My children amd grandchildren are all well mannered and responsible. There is your answer about education. Never get angry at your kids!

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"Police said Matsumoto and Okura have admitted hitting Ayumu on Sunday night as a means of disciplining him, and said they knew the boy might die."

There you have it. Lock them up... for life! No exceptions. The man, his friend, and the so-called "mother". The neighbours also need to receive some sort of punishment. How often, along with the daily reports like this where kids are murdered by parents in Japan, do we have to hear neighbours saying, after the fact, "I often heard screams... saw the emaciated child... felt so sorry for the poor baby..., etc., etc." and do NOTHING about it?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Disillusioned, while I can understand what you are trying to say, tantrums aren't always controllable, more so with kids who have special needs. There is nothing wrong with getting angry at kids. It is HOW you get angry at them that is what is important.

I think most of us can all agree - research certainly supports it - that there is a cycle of abuse and violence. I am willing to bet these adults also faced similar punishments in their lives. Until society steps up and stop allowing abuse to happen, sadly the cycle continues.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Depends how you hit. 

Nope. Physical violence is always - always - the domination of the strong against the weak. Those who hit their children run a great risk of future elderly abuse.

Talk. Make a mental connection. If your child is so disturbed as to prevent a real problem, contact the proper authorities. But never resort to physical punishment - you'd be no different from a brute animal.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

My Japanese teacher told me not to get involved. Can’t trust police. But a child, 4 years?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So sad. So many people want children and can't have them. And then you have this...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Forgot I didn't want my dad upset, 190cm, 120kg and was always physically active youth Waterpolo, hammer throwing, etc later worked in a printing company often carrying 25kg paint tins each hand, avid Tennis player, etc. Mom was also into sports, etc why us kids started early. 80% of my country exercise a minimum of 2-3 times/week.

Anyway both parents had the strength to put you down and you stayed down.

Tough but also butter in our hands and always loving and forgiving.

Glad I took my dad's advice as we both served(conscription) as does 80% of my family.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

My Japanese teacher told me not to get involved.

I don't agree. Remember, the police keep files on you. If you help them out, it will be noted, and if you are ever in trouble, your past good deeds will return to help you. This has happened to me.

Plus, there's altruistic morality.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Lock them up, all of them. Neighbours, families, work colleagues, associates, facebook friends.

They are all guilty. Every last one of them. This would never happen in -insert country of your origin here- no siree!

Neighbours were quoted by local media as saying that they would often hear the sound of children crying coming from the apartment in October and November.

It's tragic but be honest with yourselves, kids cry. A lot. For various reasons and it's not all down to abuse or bad parenting.

And stop blaming Japanese society. It's either being lambasted for treating children badly or lambasted for spoiling children rotten.

There is a malaise in 21st century life that causes such breakdowns in family life. It's not because of single parents or unmarried couples. It goes deeper than that. And at risk of contradicting myself, it's not new. The pressures of life can be enormous and not everyone has it cushy and privileged. Tragedies will happen for a myriad of different reasons.

It could be a cycle of abuse. Perpetuated. These people are not nutters or monsters. They are damaged. Damaged possibly by the environment they grew up in.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@tmarie - There is nothing wrong with getting angry at kids. It is HOW you get angry at them that is what is important.

How you get angry? What exactly does that mean? And, there is plenty wrong with getting angry at kids. I recommend every parent should read 'Taming Toddlers' by Dr. Christopher Green. It's a truly amazing insight into the minds of children and the mistakes parents make that create unruly monster children. Even special needs children are easily calmed if you have the knowledge and technique to do it. If you have not read this book and you keep giving negative votes, it is you who is part of the problem for your kids.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

If only everyone was the perfect parents like you claim to be Disillusioned.

There are numerous ways to be angry and show it. You’re clever enough to know that. We all are.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Never once struck either of my children - but we did spend sessions sitting seiza in the genkan, discussing transgressions and how not to repeat them. This takes a bit of time but pays off handsomely in the long run (as my kids' current success demonstrate).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Physical violence is the ultimate weapon against the evil and insanity, but it is not to be applied in anger or distress. It is a tool to preserve peace and order and only selected few must have access to it. Using physical violence in domestic issues does not preserve peace and order.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I smacked my son, a long time ago now. Not hard, and only on one or two occasions, and I felt like an absolute POS afterwards. I was shocked at the time, because I am generally an extremely calm and patient person, never aggressive, angry, and it's quite a hard thing to admit to on a public forum. But ultimately I just didn't think it was an effective way of managing behaviour at all, and you are teaching your children that violence can be used to resolve issues, which is a horrible lesson. Time out works, tangible consequences work, and most importantly, consistency in messages and management strategies. As an adult it is your responsibility to effectively manage a situation, and I see smacking as a complete breakdown of that responsibility. I was ashamed of myself for having done it.

To hit a child so hard you have bruised them is a disgrace. To kill them is simply beyond comprehension.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Mum used to smack us when we did something wrong. It was never an emotional thing. You overstepped the line and got a clip around the ear. Never left a mark, either physical or mental. Nothing wrong with that as far as I can see. We had a wonderful relationship with mum. It was a very stable and happy family.

But these creeps are something different. A clip around the ear to put a kid back on the path is fine, but physical abuse so violent that it results in the death of a child is psychotic behaviour. The punishment should be commensurate with the crime. They took a life. Or one did and the other two did nothing to stop it. It doesn't matter whether they are declared mentally incapable of responsibility by a mental health "expert" (joke!). They killed and they should be punished.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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