crime

Vietnamese woman gets suspended sentence for abandoning bodies of newborn twins

24 Comments

The Kumamoto District Court has sentenced a 22-year-old Vietnamese woman to eight months in prison, suspended for three years, for abandoning the bodies of her newborn twins last year.

According to Tuesday's court ruling, Le Thi Thuy Linh, who came to Japan in 2018 to work as a technical trainee, gave birth to twin boys in her company dormitory in Ashikita on or around Nov 15, 2020, Sankei Shimbun reported. She then wrapped the bodies in a cloth and placed them in a cardboard box.

On Nov 16, she took the box to a hospital in Yatsushiro City, where she told medical staff that she had given birth at her dorm and that the twins were stillborn. She gave no information on who the father of the babies was.

Linh’s lawyer said Wednesday she will appeal the ruling, claiming she did not commit a crime. He said she did not abandon the bodies but took them to a hospital.

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who came to Japan in 2018 to work as a technical trainee, gave birth to twin boys in her company dormitory in Ashikita

That program just need cheap labor so having pregnant woman or woman with baby, is not something that they really want. Since she's in trainee program she just afraid that she might get fired and being terminated from her trainee program where she could send back home. While back in home she still need to pay debt that cover initial cost for her to be in trainee program.

Similar thing happened few years back to other nationalities different place but same program, which is trainee program.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/chinese-trainee-gets-suspended-term-for-abandoning-baby

5 ( +8 / -3 )

I think it's rough to convict her of abandoning the bodies... gave birth on the 15th November, to twins, and delivered to a hospital the next day. She possibly COULD have made a call to emergency staff earlier, but she clearly never intended to abandon the bodies.

However, a suspended sentence might be one of the best outcomes she could hope for. Justice in Japan seems to be very fickle at the best of times... she could make things worse for herself in trying to appeal the decision.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Linh’s lawyer said Wednesday she will appeal the ruling, claiming she did not commit a crime. He said she did not abandon the bodies but took them to a hospital.

If only we had access to the case files so we could form an educated opinion about whether appearing this is a good idea.

Wouldn’t an autopsy have determined the cause of death? Seems to me stillbirths would be distinguishable to death after birth; however, I’m not an expert.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

A very sad story. I wish she had friends to offer her appropriate advice. She didn't need to be alone. The babies could have been saved. At the end of the day, raising those babies are more important than her training program.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Surely this should have been a matter for Social Services, rather than being brought before a court.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Lets say perhaps she went to the hospital and the babies were still born!! Is there any difference in her lets say she went into labor in the middle of transition she was trying to get to the hospital and the babies were born and she took them there. Would she still be arrested? That's not abandonment. I think she did the right thing

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Terrible ruling.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The ruling of justice looks random.

Cannot make sense of the sentencing.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

The ruling of justice looks random.

Japan doesn't have rules of precedent, so each case is ruled as the judge sees fit, and does not require consistency in Japanese law.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Eight months in private and deportation at the end of the sentence will teach this woman what exactly?

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Poor girl, was she raped ?? and ashamed to go back home with her kids? The police should be investigating that and NOT the mother.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

""Linh’s lawyer said Wednesday she will appeal the ruling, claiming she did not commit a crime. He said she did not abandon the bodies but took them to a hospital.""

YES indeed, she did NOT commit any crime unlike many who trash and leave their kids to rotten, she took them to a hospital where they could be cared for and survive.

I hope she is set free and soon.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"Abandoning"

??? she did NOT abandon her kids, she gave them to a hospital so they can be cared for. that is NOT Abandoning!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

""work as a technical trainee""

This is the new twist buzz word, we call it Modern Time Slavery.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This is a rather strange case with many open questions. Usually a foreign trainee, legally in Japan, has a health insurance, did she ever report her pregnancy to any medical doctor? Stillborn, you might believe that or not.

Why did she not call an ambulance when she gave birth? Who is the father?

Anyway, as reported, this is a suspended sentence. It sounds to me Japan just wants her to leave the country as soon as possible and her lawyer wants the opposite and win time and therefore considers an appeal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japan doesn't have rules of precedent, so each case is ruled as the judge sees fit, and does not require consistency in Japanese law.

and yet Japan claims to be a democracy with every both equal under the law, thats clearly not the case when similar offences can be ruled very differently depending on the judge.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

As far as I am aware, there is no law in Japan preventing a woman from giving birth at home without assistance.

So if there is a difficult birth and/or the child is stillborn . . . . . taking the body/bodies to the hospital, identifying yourself and explaining the situation would seem the only logical course of action. The only difference is whether or not an ambulance is called.

Going the next day does not indicate any malice was involved.

Poor Vietnamese lady. In Japan as a trainee, pregnant with no mention of the father, giving birth at home with no medical assistance, and getting locked up when seeking assistance.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The Japanese "justice" system seems to enjoy nothing more than punishing people who are already in deep pain as a result of being victims of circumstance, and adding insult to injury.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Huh? She took them to the hospital, how did she abandon them?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Wouldn’t an autopsy have determined the cause of death? Seems to me stillbirths would be distinguishable to death after birth

They can and likely did, considering the sentence. If there had even been an inkling these newborns were anything other than stillborn, she would have been charged with more than just abandoning a corpse.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Japanese "justice" system seems to enjoy nothing more than punishing people who are already in deep pain as a result of being victims of circumstance, and adding insult to injury.

Read the majority of commenters that respond to these kinds of stories and you will see a reflection of the distribution of these kinds of minds in a random population of Humans. That they also occur is some measure in the Japanese legal system or ANY legal system cannot be surprising, just superbly disappointing. The most disappointing thing about being Human is Humanity itself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The crime she's conviced on is Article 190, which states:

A person who damages, abandons or unlawfully possesses a corpse, the ashes or hair of a dead person, or an object placed in a coffin is punished by imprisonment for not more than 3 years.

As usual, I've went to do some quick research on this case and the relevant law:

https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1Yr-jT9aDS0mqOvVH2QEqR7RRb98GBn_cWU3236i3IzE/edit?usp=sharing

In English: According to the textbook interpretation (that is to say, this is what's taught in law school), the protected interest of these articles is the positive customs in religious life and the normal religious feelings of citizens. It's purpose is not to protect religion per se, but to provide concrete protection for freedom of conscience.

My personal comments: Many people, I believe, would feel some umbrage if they know a corpse was treated with disrespect, especially if it was of their family. Of course, since it is dead anyway, there should rationally really be little difference, but people do make such distinctions, which can only be abscribed to religious factors that sometimes even people who are atheist cannot help but absorb from their neighboring environ. This and its neighboring articles aim to protect that feeling.

In English: 遺棄 in this article's context means the leaving behind (放棄) of the corpse in any way that is inconsistent with the customary requirements of a proper burial (埋葬), even if the corpse was buried at a collective cementary.

Following this interpretation, the court's adjudication in this case is: "The corpse was kept in a cardboard box for the purpose of concealment, and leaving it in the room for over a single day is an act that harms the normal religious feelings of the citizens and fufills the elements of Corpse Abandonment." and "*as a resident in Japan for over 2 years, defendant should have easily realized that continuing to keep a corpse in her home is not preparation for a proper burial.*"

Given this context, what do you think?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think people are too hung up on the English meaning of the word abandon. Remember, we're in a story based on a law written in Japanese.

The translation into English as abandon doesn't actually work that well, for the nuance is different between the languages. In Japanese, in this context, it has a meaning along the lines of 'abandonment of responsibility (in regards to a body)'.

One could wonder why the author didn't choose to use a different word that would be a better translation, but when looking at English translations of the law in question, the word 'abandon' is what is used, so it only makes sense that the news would report in line with the wording of the law.

tldr; The law is in Japanese, not English, so stop worrying about 'abandon' not being the right word in English.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A person who damages, abandons or unlawfully possesses a corpse, the ashes or hair of a dead person, or an object placed in a coffin is punished by imprisonment for not more than 3 years.

@Kazuaki

Interesting read. I’d also be interest to know what they’d define as ‘unlawfully possess’. Would keeping granny’s ashes on the mantle be considered unlawful possession of ashes? I could see possessing the remains of some unrelated person being unlawful, but how would they define the difference between lawful and unlawful possession with regards to her own children? And how long is the timer for possessing? She only held onto them for a day. I guess I’m asking, how long did she have to get the corpses to the hospital before it was unlawful? And also, what defines the period one has to live in Japan before they should realize what “is not preparation for a proper burial”. Is that something they tell you in temp worker orientation or…? I mean, I was in Germany for over a year before I learned I should say “I have gone” instead of “I went”. At no point did the topic of “how do you guys deal with stillborn babies?” come up.

These questions are of course rhetorical.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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