crime

18-month-old girl dies after being left alone in hot room for 18 hours

41 Comments

Police in Saitama have arrested a woman who left her 18-month-old daughter alone at home in a non-air-conditioned room last month, causing the child to die of heatstroke.

According to police, 22-year-old Kaori Ishizuka left her infant daughter Riona in their apartrment alone from 12 noon on Aug 10 for 18 hours while she went to work, TV Asahi reported. She did not turn the air conditioning on when she left. The temperature outside that day reached 37.7 degrees in Saitama, according tot he Japan Meteorological Agency.

Police said Ishizuka has been charged with manslaughter. During questioning, Ishizuka was quoted by police as saying, "I had left her home alone before, so I thought she would be okay this time too."

Police said Ishizuka was investigated by a child consultation center once before in July when she was suspected of having left her daughter unsupervised. Ishizuka has denied the charge, but when social workers followed up with visits to her home on two separate occasions, nobody answered the door.

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41 Comments
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Poor girl, I hope she rests in peace. It saddens me to see so many irresponsible young mothers unknowingly killing their children. I keep seeing stories similar to this, where's the child father? And her family?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

a single mother trying to make a living with no available support it seems...needs to pay bills got to work but with an 18 month old child, all she can do is hope nothing goes wrong while she gambles her life. Did not turn the aircon...probably she doesn't have the money to pay huge electricity neither. No judgement here.

8 ( +15 / -7 )

It saddens me to see so many irresponsible young mothers unknowingly killing their children.

What this mother did was wrong but there was a story yesterday about a 39 year old mom arrested for trying to kill her 4 month old.

Bad mothers are bad mothers, whatever their age.

Poor little girl :(

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Social services massive FAIL

8 ( +12 / -4 )

Wait a sec.......an 18 hour working shift for a 22 year old.........starting from 12 noon? Working? Really? Rest in peace child. You are not alone up there. Unfortunately there are many more like you.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Oikawa ... not really a fail on the part of social services.

They have very, very little power, and can not force their way into a house to get a kid they know is alone - they have to be invited in by the parents and any participation is voluntary.

Change the law to give them more power to help kids like this, I say.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

kimizukashii

Fair enough, but it's still a Fail on the part of the social services system then. It couldn't have taken too much investigative power to find out she was working long hours with no-one to look after the kid, which should have been a massive red flag even if the child hadn't died. Assuming she was "working" of course.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Sad story. The baby is in a better place now.

-7 ( +6 / -13 )

The baby is in a better place now.

No she's not. She's dead.

22 ( +24 / -2 )

Oikawa. . . but thats my point. It seems they did use their investigative powers, they knew she was home alone. They knew it was a massive red flag.

But ... then what? They don't have powers to put kids into care by themselves - they need to go through police, who launch an investigation into the parent (which again, is completely voluntary on the part of the parent) and to get a child removed they need to get a warrant signed by a judge. And we all know Japanese police are very, very reluctant to act on "family" situations, like child abuse or DV. As anyone who has been here a while will know, in situations like these, police will only act after something has happened.

It is incredibly frustrating to read this little girl died, even though social workers knew she was at risk. However, It must be even MORE infuriating for those social workers, who know kids are in danger but are powerless to do anything about it.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Sorry, sad, Saitama.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

No doubt this is willful negligence.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

RIP little girl your mother did not forget you she only tried to do what she could do within the means of the Japanese child rearing system. It is sad that many people here are blaming the mother nowhere did it say she didnt try to care for her daughter. What it did say the daughter died while she was at wotk. With that said I would like to know why is it that JAPAN can not do more for child care facilities i dont blame the mother i blame the system a single mothr is looked down upon so its hard to get child care on the other hand the government wants couples or women to have more children but they are not doing anything about opening and assisting in opening childcare facilites. The mother didnt kill her child the system did! Wakeup Japan!

4 ( +7 / -3 )

I would like to see a campaign rolled over the whole country. Not for "saving electricity" or "eat fukushima vegetables" or "dont be rude on the train" ... but how about a campaign telling people " DO NOT LEAVE YOUR KIDS HOME ALONE!"

I dont understand why Japanese people think this is okay to do? Just 2 days ago, I went to get my child from nursery, and saw the mother of a 2 month old who had left her baby home alone while she went to pick up her older child.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

The story's in the details. Young mother with no support, working insane hours to barely pay the bills after (hopefully, at least) feeding her baby. Not one of you asked whether the father should take blame. Of course, the state could review and change laws and practices, but that's up to someone you'd call a statesman. And who's that? I hope to know by the time I return in October. I hate reading about this sh*t!

4 ( +5 / -1 )

how unfortunate. wait, who leaves a one year old by itself?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

It seems to be a common attitude in Japan that it's okay to leave kids alone at home or even to go to shops etc alone from a young age because "Japan is a safe country". I don't understand it at all. There might be less violent crime than other countries but that doesn't protect the kids from household accidents or situtions like this.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Poor girl, I hope she rests in peace. It saddens me to see so many irresponsible young mothers unknowingly killing their children.

Which part is "unknowingly"?

An 18 month old child is not competent to take care of itself. You can't leave them in hot rooms or vehicles. An adult is supposed to know that.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

An 18-month old child is not an infant, it's a toddler.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Not one of you asked whether the father should take blame.

A parent (father or mother) who makes a decision to leave a child in a position where it cannot fend for itself is directly to blame when that child dies as a result. Not the first parent to leave the house, but the second. And if they leave together (aka "doing a McCann"), blame is equally shared.

It comes back to the child not being competent to take care of itself, which shouldn't need explaining to anyone over the age of 12. Even if things had gone "right", this kid would have been sitting for hours in its own faeces and urine until its mother decided to reappear. The word for that is child abuse.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

“I had left her home alone before, so I thought she would be okay this time too.”

What she was really saying was, "I had left her home alone before, but she didn't die, so I tried again."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

ambrosiaSep. 15, 2013 - 11:54AM JST

An 18-month old child is not an infant, it's a toddler.

I'll bet my sweet as* you weren't toddling at 18 months! If you're like 99% of other humans on the planet you could barely crawl at that age. Who are you making excuses for?

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

TevorPeace!: I'll bet my sweet as* you weren't toddling at 18 months! If you're like 99% of other humans on the planet you could barely crawl at that age. Who are you making excuses for?

What are you on about? Have you never been around young children? The average child starts crawling at 6 to 9 months and walking, in a toddling manner, between 9 to 13 months. Toddling means to move with short, unsteady steps while learning to walk. An infant is commonly defined as a child in the earliest period of life up to a year, especially before he or she can walk. It comes from the Latin "infans" meaning unable to speak. By 18 months, certainly most toddlers can talk, even if the speech is limited and unclear and they would certainly be toddling. Words have meaning and a news site should try to use words correctly and with accuracy. It's nothing to do with "making excuses", whatever that means. Obviously a child this young should not have been left alone but this child was not an infant, plain and simple.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Police said Ishizuka was investigated by a child consultation center once before in July when she was suspected of having left her daughter unsupervised. Ishizuka has denied the charge, but when social workers followed up with visits to her home on two separate occasions, nobody answered the door."

This says it all. The woman is a criminal, for sure, but she was allowed to do what she did by society. Changes are SLOWLY being made to allow social workers more power, but it is far too slow. The child should have been taken away a long time ago, and she would still be alive. Now she's dead, poor little girl. RIP. The mother? she'll get next to nothing in terms of charges and we'll read about the next one tomorrow. I cannot believe children are allowed to be left alone at that age in a developed country.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

"Hoikuen" in Japan are few and far between. There are even fewer that would keep a child overnight.Single mothers don't have very much choice if they have no family to help take care of their child/children. As for the father, we don't know if he was an abusive husband/father or even if she was married. As long as the story is so scant of information, I think it's very difficult to give an opinion.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

When will Japan stop looking down on single mothers and help them ? (as well as many other countries) Perhap's such tragedy wouldn't happen if there was proper help available for single mothers AND if japanese mothers in general were able to have a career and a family life. The system needs to change. I would prefer being a single working mother in my own country even if it's not perfect than in Japan...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Hereforever" got it right. Saitama seems to get a lot of news, what's with that area?

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

They need to seriously investigate Social Services too. They identified an 18-month old child AT RISK, suspected of being left unsupervised, and they did nothing when no one answered the door? Did no one stop to think that maybe that was because the mother was out but the baby was in a room somewhere?

The baby died because an unanswered knock at the door was not followed up. Shameful.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

****OMG

Such a sad story. Just a question to my JP friends.. Is it traditionally accepted to leave a child home around that age? I'm asking without any judgement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sorry, sad, Saitama.

Yet safer than your country's safest city....

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Is it traditionally accepted to leave a child home around that age?

No. Traditionally, there would be parents or grandparents to help out. Extended families are decreasing rapidly in Japan, which follows what's happened in other countries. Also, I'd guess the number of young single mothers has increased. In other developed countries there are more childcare facilities available.

We don't know this woman's circumstances. Sure, she's young, but if she hasn't been to university (which naturally stalls childbirth, along with then starting a job) then it's not that surprising for her to have a child at 21 or 22. And maybe the father was no good and they were better off without him. Whatever the circumstances, she clearly couldn't see any other way of balancing work and childcare.

Social services could have intervened and provided options but failed to do so. In doing this, they have failed the baby, the mother, and society in general.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

And maybe the father was no good and they were better off without him.

Obviously not.

Whatever the circumstances, she clearly couldn't see any other way of balancing work and childcare.

Or was too cheap to do so. Just as she was too cheap to turn on the air conditioning.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

did not turn the air conditioning on ... 37.7 degrees

You'd say what if she had locked a person inside a Turkish bath for 18 hours ? Torture ? Murder ?

the aircon...probably she doesn't have the money to pay huge electricity neither.

And her "colleague" the other day that was not feeding her baby, it's because she had no money for grocery bills ?

a single mother trying to make a living with no available support it seems...

No available support ? If you don't even open to social workers, don't complain about not getting help. That's not even the case she didn't know where to ask.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The reason why people look down upon single mothers, is because its a choice the woman is making, and its her responsibility to live with those choices.

Its not up to society (aka other tax payers) to pick up the slack because she decided to have a baby out of wedlock or family support.

A woman has control over her body (here in Japan), and she had options before conception, and even after getting pregnant. But since she chose to have the baby, it is her responsibility to raise the child properly and no blame should be given to a lack of social services.

We live in the year 2013, there is information freely available for education about becoming a single parent. There are tons of blogs, videos, books, other people etc, who give out this information and share their experience. There are places she could have gone for help, perhaps even free daycare facilities etc. Leaving your child alone for 18 hours in the middle of summer with no AC on is very bad, and should be a common sense thing NOT to do.

Yes this is a sad story, and it is obvious that she wasn't prepared to handle being a single mother, but she made her choice. No one held a gun to her head and forced her to have the baby. So now she has to live with the consequences (criminal and of course emotional)

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

I cant believe people are making excuses for her because of "the system" or the "lack of daycare". Has anyone ever seen young women with small children homeless and begging for food on the street in Japan? I doubt it. Because there IS help available. A simple trip to a ward office would have yielded her all sorts of financial help. There ARE 24 hour daycares around and for women in this situation they are virtually free. There are NPOs and charities that give support. The situation in Japan is NOT hopeless. Tough, maybe, but not impossible. There is absolutely no excuse whatsoever for leaving an 18 month old baby alone for 18 hours period, never mind in a non-air conditioned room. Cant get daycare? Then you dont work. The ward office are never going to kick you out on the street to starve if you have nowhere to go. I have heard of many combinis and restaurants quietly giving food to homeless and/or desperate people.

There are also far more kindhearted people around then there are A-holes. How many of us commenting right now would have turned away and done nothing to help this girl if we knew her, or if she was a neighbour of ours?

Too proud to ask for help because of the gaman culture? Then you are an idiot, and as it turns out now a murderer too. No one unless they are mentally incompetent could leave a baby like that alone for an extended period of time and expect them to be in good health on their return. So unless this girl was actually intellectually sub-normal I think she knew exactly what she was doing and I think she wanted "rid" of the child, without actually bringing herself to killing her herself.

I probably sound horribly judgemental. I dont really care. I am sick of hearing of these shocking cases of neglect and abuse, in Japan and elsewhere in the world.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

But since she chose to have the baby, it is her responsibility to raise the child properly and no blame should be given to a lack of social services.

You're missing the most fundamental thing here. The baby was innocent in all of this and social services should have been there to step in and remove that child from risk. You put the squarely responsibility on her - fair comment - but that doesn't help the baby.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

“I had left her home alone before, so I thought she would be okay this time too.”

what an idiot. she needs to be put away for a long time and have her tubes tied. No need for stupidity to continue in the gene pool.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Police said Ishizuka was investigated by a child consultation center once before in July when she was suspected of having left her daughter unsupervised. Ishizuka has denied the charge,

Oh, then the child consultation center must be mistaken... or maybe not?

During questioning, Ishizuka was quoted by police as saying, “I had left her home alone before, so I thought she would be okay this time too.”

...meaning she lied to authorities before. It sure is hard trying to keep all your lies straight, eh "mom" (and I use the term loosely)?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In such a situation,adolts around her also have responsibility to take care a baby,cause she is still 22 years old.they all should have supported for her. we have to understand such a situation might come to everybody who are taking care babies.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is just another proof that there are so many young mothers in Japan who lack the common sense to raise a child. I have been reading this kinds of news on the Internet about young Japanese mothers for a very long time now, and it seems like these kinds of things are increasing by the day. When will people beging to come to their senses and learn to use some practical common sense!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I propose that our 'pension' money should stop going to the elderly, who tend to spend it on luxury items and unnecessary things, and should start going to more people like this - single parents who need to spend the time rearing their child(ren).

It probably sounds brutal, but I'd feel much better knowing that my money was being put towards the future rather than the past.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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