crime

Prosecutors drop case against mother whose 1-year-old daughter, left in car, died of heatstroke

48 Comments

Prosecutors in Yachiyo, Chiba Prefecture, have dropped their indictment against a 26-year-old woman who was arrested on suspicion of parental neglect resulting in death after she left her one-year-old daughter in her car, resulting in the child’s death from heatstroke.

Prosecutors decided Wednesday not to proceed with the case and gave no reason for their decision.

According to the initial indictment, Yurina Okoshi, a bar employee, left her daughter Mion in her car in the parking lot at their apartment building for about 30 minutes on the morning of July 22 last year.

Okoshi had gone to a friend’s residence after her work finished at around 7 a.m. that morning to pick up Mion and her three-year-old sister. When they arrived home, Okoshi remained in the car and slept for about three hours. Mion was in the front passenger's seat and her sister in the back seat. After waking up at around 10:10 a.m., Okoshi took her oldest daughter into their apartment, and got changed. But she did not come back for Mion until 30 minutes later.

When Okoshi returned to the car, she noticed Mion had lost consciousness and called 119. Mion was taken to a hospital where she later died due to heatstroke, doctors said.

Police said Okoshi told them she left the car air conditioner on, but after her arrest, remained silent on why she waited 30 minutes to go back to the car to pick up Mion.

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48 Comments
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This mother in this case seem a lot more sympathetic than the usual "left their kid to die while they played Pachinko for 8 hours" type of incident that is more typical in these stories. A very tragic incident and a good warning to never leave kids that young in the car alone.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

The morning sun’s heat in July is intensified by the windshield. Reads like deceased child actually slept in the car that morning totaling 3 HOURS, PLUS 30 MINUTES LONGER than the mother and sibling and the child died sometime in the last 30 minutes from when the mother removed the other living child from the car.

First: “Okoshi left Mion in her car in the parking lot at their apt bldg for about 30 minutes on the morning of Jul 22.

Next: “When they arrived home, Okoshi remained in the car and slept for about three hours. Mion was in the front passenger's seat and her sister in the back seat.

Then: “Okoshi took her oldest into their apt, and got changed. But **she did not come back for Mion until 30 minutes later. **When Okoshi returned to the car, she noticed Mion had lost consciousness.” -

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

Correction to @5:24pm: “… *the child’s body & brain succumbed to the conditions of heatstroke sometime in the last 30 minutes…” (Acknowledged from the article: “taken to a hospital where she later died due to heatstroke”*)

-10 ( +1 / -11 )

RIP to another sweet angel, left too much soon as so many in Japan...it breaks my heart each time I heard about such tragic death.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

My guess is that bar employee has quite a name collection of those non-proceeders and non- reason givers in her pink address book and second smartphone.

-11 ( +3 / -14 )

On the face of it, it would appear there’s nothing to be gained by prosecuting the mother. What a tragic story.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

The question not answered is why she only took one child indoors, why leave the other in the car at all and why for 30 minutes under the front windscreen in a hot Japanese summer? Also why drop charges, a reason should be given or speculation will abound as to possible corruption, damaging to their reputation?

Or is it so damaged as to be meaningless?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I suspect that Japans justice ministry has been completely overhauled recently after the complete fool that it was making of itself, and investigating cases more thoroughly now.

-7 ( +1 / -8 )

Prosecutors gave no reason for their decision.

A 4-year-old daughter needing her mother is reason enough.

Life can be hard on the uneducated poor amongst us who make youthful hormonal decisions that result in very hard lives.

This woman had two children at the age of 25, was getting off work at 7:00 a.m., and was so exhausted that she would sleep in her car with the A/C on.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Only in Japan you get away with such crimes

-2 ( +7 / -9 )

age of 25?is acceptable and reasonable age to be a responsible mother. Majority of mothers today in Japan have their first born after age 40..,,,

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Majority of mothers today in Japan have their first born after age 40..,,,

Where do you get that figure from? The link below shows the mean age of childbearing in Japan is about 31.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/611773/japan-mean-age-childbearing/

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Where is/are the father/fathers?

This woman was knocked up at 21, knocked up again at 23.

Where are the “responsible” men?

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

Poor child. Killed by the mother, forgotten by the justice system, or rather injustice system.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"Prosecutors decided Wednesday not to proceed with the case and gave no reason for their decision."

Because there is NO sane reason for dropping such a case. Hence, no reason to give. Once again, the system lets a murderer go free without a care in the world -- and even one less thing to care about, really. But hey, I guess she's now free to give it another try and then kill that kid, too. Maybe the second life will be worth more in the eyes of the law?

-12 ( +5 / -17 )

This is an absolute travesty. It's fishy enough that she left the youngest one alone in a car for 30 minutes - who leaves a one-year-old alone anywhere, let alone in a car? The mere fact that the courts decided to drop this case shows just how much they care about the children in their society - none. Once again the Japanese "justice" system proves itself to be an absolute joke. And what about the remaining child? Are the social and welfare services going to keep an eye on her to make sure no harm befalls upon her? I doubt it.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

@ snowymountain

Do you really need to repost the whole article in your comments?

10 ( +10 / -0 )

remained silent on why she waited 30 minutes to go back to the car to pick up Mion.

She's obviously devastated.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

(+) - Not always @Speed 8:52pm but just discussing on another Crime thread his often articles are updated with additional info thorough the day yet some posters are battling it out about earlier posts based on limited info. (Long time reader of yours so will trust your feedback once you look at the other thread.) - “Apologies” if it annoys you just like users of the site but translators and writers should to be accountable, don’t you agree?

@Speed 8:52pm: “@snowymountain: “Do you really need to repost the whole article in your comments?” -

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Prosecutors decided Wednesday not to proceed with the case and gave no reason for their decision.

WOW...........

That's cold Japan........real cold...

Some judicial system you guys got there.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Clearly in this case the mother may have decided not to disturb her child and just let her sleep for a while, what she did not count on or think of is the summer heat, neglect? yes but not intentional, she has already suffered enough loosing a child.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Good. There's no point sending her to jail, away from her daughter. Like Mark said above, she already suffered enough.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Main point is this women whos an adult got away with murder and judge doesnt say why and does not matter her age or occupation, she left her kid to die in the car with heat stroke as she was having fun with here buddies at a bar period and only in japan can you get away witch such murder at trial and if this was USA she be in prison for a long long time. The japanese law is so weak is the reason muders get away with murder under a extrem low setence and hence why the family muder rate is very high in Jland folks.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

30 minutes is really not a long time. If you have a lapse in attention because of a sudden distraction, the time can pass without noticing, especially if you're chronically sleep deprived.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It is very rare for police in Japan to let a death by negligence slide no matter how unintentional the situation is. The justice department must have concluded that the mother was innocent after their assessment of her case and testimony. There is more here than what the article has revealed. People just don't get away with irresponsible death here by just being quiet. Also, Americans who criticize the Japanese justice system should reflect on the judicial failures in their own country. We don't allow violent criminals to be released on the streets again into the civilian population, no matter what, even for covid. And your gun laws are hideously atrocious! Every day people are being killed by powerful guns in the US because they are available to virtually anyone. Is it a small wonder that you enjoy living in Japan?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Female privilege does not exist. Right?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@P. SmithToday 02:09 am JST

Here's the way I'd see it. There simply is no evidence at this point for your defamatory assessments of the situation, and no evidence that the prosecutors abused their free discretion to not prosecute.

A deed shall be deemed to be committed innocently if the person who performed it, although foresaw the possibility of the onset of the socially dangerous consequences of his actions (inaction), could not prevent these consequences because of a failure of his psycho-physiological abilities to cope with the requirements of extreme conditions or nervous and psychic stresses.

Considering that woman cannot even drag herself to sleep in her apartment, it's clear that she was only barely conscious throughout the entire proceedings. In fact, she probably shouldn't be driving, but we only stop the drunk from driving, not the fatigued. After three hours, she was stimulated by her older daughter and regained just enough consciousness to cart her up the stairs.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Agree @P.Smith 9:15am the frequent decisions in Japan not to prosecute like this case are “Repugnant” and you seem quite knowledge of Japanese jurisprudence from your oft critical posts. Some here today have also claimed, even cases where the perpetrator is deceased or committed suicide, their is no further prosecutorial or judicial review of the police evidence ? Is this also true in Japan or do you know of precedent to the contrary ?

- @P. Smith Jan. 27 6:51pm: Does anyone need anymore evidence of how much of anole the Japanese “justice” system is.I’d bet a month’s salary this case was dropped by prosecutors because they couldn’t force a confession so would have had to actually do their job in prosecuting this lady. Repugnant.” -

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

OxycodinJan. 27  07:19 pm JST

Only in Japan you get away with such crimes

And it happens more often than most realize. It seems I hear more of these incidents here in Japan than most other countries I’ve lived in.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

That's cold Japan........real cold...

No, cold would be prosecuting the mother for the accidental death of her child and leaving her other child as an orphan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This sounds like lack of proof, specifically the inability to prove or disprove whether the mother was in the car from 7am and whether the air con was running. Disprove either and I think you have negligence. This assumes, of course, that the prosecution can be bothered to disprove it with science and investigations, and not just rely on a non-forthcoming confession.

Taking this on face value, I didn't think it was possible to die of heatstroke in a car with a functioning air conditioner. This verdict says that it is, in just 30 minutes with the sun at whatever angle it is at 10am. That would make ordinary driving potentially fatal on a sunny day.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@P. SmithToday 09:15 am JST

the truth is an absolute defense to defamation.

But just to meet that, you'll need to prove that this is the truth, and you simply don't have the information for that. So called "historical precedent" means rumors of cases whose details you do not understand, or claims by people who, after all, lost their cases. Of course, spanning history you will undoubtedly be able to find cases of proven forced confession, but that's not what you need. You need evidence this is the case this time. That's like saying because you've found evidence crime exists, crime must have happened in a particular instance.

Where is your evidence for this?

The article. The problem is this. You are making a claim of malfeasance on the part of the Japanese prosecutors. And you have no information that validly allows you to do that. All anyone needs to do is make a reasonable inference from the available information, and your claim fails.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@kohakuebisuToday 01:06 pm JST

This verdict says that it is, in just 30 minutes with the sun at whatever angle it is at 10am. That would make ordinary driving potentially fatal on a sunny day.

There's no "verdict" because it was never brought to trial. The available evidence favors that Mion had actually gone unconscious before 10AM. Okoshi never checked on Mion after she woke up, she only returned the elder daughter (who survived partly because she's in the slightly less exposed to sun backseat and partially because at 3YO she's of stouter constitution) to the apartment. 30 minutes down the line, some stimulus caused Okoshi to realize Mion's not there. She returns to the car and finds Mion who lost unconsciousness somewhere between 0 and 210 minutes ago.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Interesting reading. (Btw: “Thanks” for the response earlier) Would you recommend he/she/they do some pro bono on the other thread questions?:

“Some here today have also claimed, even cases where the perpetrator is deceased or committed suicide, their is no further prosecutorial or judicial review of the police evidence ?  Is this also true in Japan or do you know of precedent to the contrary ? ” -

Regards.
0 ( +1 / -1 )

Just found precedent @P.Smith and posted results in the other Jan 27 Crime thread - https://japantoday.com/category/crime/one-man-fatally-stabbed-another-dies-in-fire-at-mie-apartment -

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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