The trial of a 41-year-old man who has been charged with fatally abusing his 10-year-old daughter will begin on Feb 21, the Chiba District Court said.
Yuichiro Kurihara is accused of repeatedly abusing his daughter Mia who was found dead on Jan 24 in the bathroom of their home in Noda, Chiba Prefecture. Kurihara’s wife Nagisa, 32, was sentenced on June 26 to 30 months in prison, suspended for five years with probation, for failing to report the abuse by her husband.
The court said there will be 10 sessions through March 9 with a ruling expected to be handed down after that.
The case gained nationwide headlines after it came to light that a child welfare center, Mia's school, and other local services did not properly respond to Mia's repeated calls for help.
Mia was taken into protective custody at the center on Nov 7, 2017 after she reported in a school questionnaire that her father "bullied" her. She told child welfare center officials that her father had woken her up at night and pulled her pants down, Kyodo News reported. During interviews conducted while she was in protective custody at the Kashiwa child welfare center, the girl also gave accounts of her father's physical abuse, such as covering her mouth and nose with his hands while she was asleep.
The center ended her protective custody, even though a doctor said she had been subjected to assaults as well as sexual abuse and suffered post-traumatic stress disorder.
But as she started saying she wanted to go home, the center concluded the abuse was not serious and ended her protection as of Dec 27 that year so she could stay with relatives. She was allowed to return home on Feb 28, 2018.
The case has revealed a lack of coordination among authorities on the situation and questionable responses.
Officials of local governments failed to share information on the family despite the abuse allegations and a local education board provided a copy of Mia's complaint to her father. Welfare officials also failed to check on the girl's safety after her protective custody ended.© Japan Today/Kyodo