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Man gets 7 years in prison for fatal abuse of girlfriend’s 3-year-old son


The Tokyo District Court has sentenced a 36-year-old man to seven years in prison for fatally abusing his girlfriend's 3-year-old son in 2019. Prosecutors had sought 10 years.

According to the court ruling, Yuji Watanabe punched the boy, Ryutaro Yamada, in the stomach and then placed him in the bathtub on the morning of Sept 28, 2019, Fuji TV reported. At around 1:25 p.m., Watanabe called for emergency assistance saying he had found the boy floating face-down and unresponsive in the bathtub. Ryutaro was taken to a hospital in a state of cardiac arrest before regaining vital signs, but died the following day.

Autopsy results showed no water in the boy's lungs, prompting police to suspect Watanabe had abused Ryotaro and tried to cover it up as a drowning accident.

Watanabe, who was on child rearing leave, had been living with his own son, Ryotaro's mother and Ryotaro in a high-rise condominium in Toyosu since spring 2019. When the incident occurred, Ryotaro’s mother was on a business trip abroad, leaving Watanabe and the two boys in the condominium. Police said there were no signs that Watanabe had abused his own son.

At the beginning of the trial, Watanabe pleaded not guilty.

© KYODO/Japan Today

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Only 7 years for killing a defenseless child... pathetic legal system of Japan!

13 ( +16 / -3 )

It's too bad prison in Japan is safe and boring. He won't see real justice. In a US or UK jail, he'd receive some very swift justice from his new block friends.

13 ( +16 / -3 )

10 years plus should have been the sentence. This guy wouldn't walk again if imprisoned in some countries.

12 ( +15 / -3 )

Apparently a innocent childs life is only worth 7 years....what in the **** is wrong with these people that hand down sentences.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Not enough; also needs mandatory counseling and also should not be seen alone with a child within 10 meters.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Though I don't know the circumstances of this story, I always say a single mother should always put her flesh and blood first if she chooses to have a new relationship. If your man is a ticking time bomb, he has to go.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

"What is wrong with these people that hand down sentences."

They have the power to be lenient to themselves on this side.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Only 7 years?

This man should have been given at least decades in prison with hard labor with the Prime Minister, flanked by the head of the Ministry of Justice announcing the sentence on national TV sternly warning the rest of the country that the same fate awaits anyone else who commits such an evil crime against a child.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is zero indication from the article that this guy was “a ticking time bomb.”

Hence the first 9 words of my comment were "though I don't know the circumstances of this story.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

7 years for murder? Okay Japan, you do you.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Seven years, people. THat's what the life of a child is worth in the eyes of justice here... and that's a lot more than normal, too.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Tokyo District Court has sentenced a 36-year-old man to seven years in prison for fatally abusing his girlfriend's 3-year-old son

Not enough; that what he will get in j-land

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Prosecutors had sought ten years, which doesn’t seem unreasonable. Wonder why the court saw fit to reduce that.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Meanwhile drivers who ACCIDENTALLY kill someone due to a moments lack of concentration (or poorly designed intersections) get longer. This guy should have got much much longer than 7 years. Crazy!!

3 ( +4 / -1 )

7 years, wow, for killing a small human boy, can you imagine if were a Gaijin...

this person is sick, how the judge could give 7 years, and with good behavior will be out in 2, how the Japanese low is not the same for everyone...sick...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

An innocent 3 year old child's life was only worth 7 years?

This murderer will be out in his early 40's to continue living the rest of his life....

What a joke of a 'justice system'!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The Tokyo District Court has sentenced a 36-year-old man to seven years in prison for fatally abusing his girlfriend's 3-year-old son in 2019. Prosecutors had sought 10 years.

Should have been much more. Abusing a 3-year old is unforgivable, period.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Oh, a fellow member (ex) of the company I work for!

Foul disgrace of a human being.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I’m up for 10+

1 ( +2 / -1 )

IDIOTIC Judge who gave this RIDICULOUSLY lenient sentence!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Punching a 3 year old in his stomach??!! ,,,wow your some hard man. wait until you got to the jail, these guys now how to throw a punch. i hope they show you a few manoeuvres.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This angers and sickens me. 7 Years only for brutally murdering an innocent little boy. This vermin will be out by the time he is early 40s.

He absolutely should have been hung. No worse crime than killing a defenseless child.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It seems with every passing day I read something that makes me no longer wish to be a part of this society. Seven years for abusing and killing an innocent three year old child is beyond reproach.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

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