crime

Woman arrested for fatally abusing 1-month-old daughter

51 Comments

Police in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture, said Friday they have arrested a 37-year-old woman over the death of her 1-month-old daughter.

According to police, the suspect, identified as Chieko Yamaguchi, allegedly abused her daughter Rina sometime between 5 p.m. on Wednesday and 10:40 p.m. Thursday night. During that time, there was no one else at home, NTV reported.

Yamaguchi's husband was away on a business trip and the couple's 4-year-old daughter was at her grandmother's place.

On Thursday afternoon, the grandmother was talking to Chieko on the phone when the connection was cut off. She went over to see if everything was OK. She found Rina unconsciousness in the living room and called 119. Rina was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead a short time later, NTV reported.

Chieko was quoted by police as saying that the infant wouldn't stop crying and that she must have smothered her. She told police that she had worried before about being able to look after her daughter, NTV reported.

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51 Comments
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I do not like the fact that this mother has been named here. This is tragic. And whether or not this transpires to be a mother abusing her child, or children. This only happened on wednesday and therefore the press have given no time whatsoever for the facts and evidence. This could be a case of severe post-natal stress or just the stress of a mother struggling to raise two children whilst her husband is away on business trips. What gives JT the right to name this woman?

Moderator: All suspects are named in crime reporting, unless they are minors.

-9 ( +2 / -11 )

Don't know if I should feel anger towards her for killing this little girl or if I should feel sorry for her if she was under a lot of stress.. Either way its such a sad tragedy which could easily of been prevented if she were given more support.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

TigersTokyoDome thats is the Japanese way unfortunately they name and shame the offender..... Another child killing, how many has it been since the begining of the week?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Absolutely tragic - again.

The system here really needs to get SERIOUS about PND. It is no good providing services if no one knows about them. I would like to see not just the new mothers but also the immediate family given a talk and information on the signs of PND before they leave the hospital, a number to call with any concerns, and a support system put in place and agreed among midwives, community nurses and the family before the mother and baby leaves hospital. In addition to the one month check up for the baby, there should be a mental check up once a week for the first 3 months for the mother and REAL questions asked - by people trained to spot potential problems. I would even like to see a buddy system where a new mother is matched with a volunteer veteran mother or grandmother in her community (once she returns home) and meets her for coffee once a week to get advice and support. If the companies cant support paternity leave, I would as a minimum like to see them releasing new fathers at 5pm every day for the first month of a childs life and no business trips.

People need to know how many women suffer from it (because everybody here gamans until something tragic happens and nobody knows) how common it is and how normal it is and that help is available and that available help needs to be right in their faces - not just a number on a business card.

They take care of you physically beautifully here (except for the lack of pain meds!) but mentally you are thrown out to the wolves once you leave the hospital.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Heres what you do...get off the phone and find out what the baby wants. Food, bathroom, or sleep. Usually at that age it's most likely one of those. Or Stay on the phone and ask mom what to do.

It is so sad hearing about these unfit mothers. They just have dreams and fantasies about having babies as simple status symbols and then get shocked that when they find out that it actually takes WORK to take care of a child. Babies are not Gucci bags.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Here we go again.... another sibling gone beckon negligence and selfishness. What is going on in this country?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How many dead kids is that this week?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It seems some posters don't understand the basics of journalism and reporting. There's nothing in the article that says the woman committed the crime. She was arrested for a crime. There are statements clearly attributed to the police ("According to the police") and the writer was even cautious enough to use the word "allegedly". The whole article follows a standard objective format for crime reporting used in most countries. Sorry, I know this post is a bit off topic but hopefully that will settle the matter here.

I see that JT and it's moderators even write responses to posts disguised as other posters. How very sad.

Moderator: This post was not written by anyone connected to Japan Today. There will be no further discussion on this matter.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Al Stewart: She already has a 4 year old, so she must already be aware of how much work a baby is. Apparently (in the absence of any other information) that child is well and healthy, so calling her an unfit Mother and accusing her of dreaming about the fantasy of a baby not the reality is a bit of a stretch.

Perhaps she was on the phone trying to get the support she so clearly needs? And one month olds dont generally need the bathroom! Yes, it would be so simple wouldnt it, if babies either needed sleeping, feeding or a nappy change and that would stop them crying? Ever had a baby with colic? They scream for hours, usually in late afternoon and early evening (when this incident happened), from about 3 weeks old to about 3 months, longer if you are unlucky. Nothing you do seems to help them, no doctors can help, most in this country dont even recognise the problem, simply calling it "yonaki" and telling you to "Ganbarre". In other countries you can get a medication called Simethicone that sometimes helps - but its not available here. Some even tell you it must be your fault because something you are eating is upsetting them in your milk (no clinical evidence of this whatsoever) making you feel even more crap than you already do.

Unlike the Mother of the twins earlier this week who also had a 4 year old who was on the "watch" list for child services and who she had also been abusing, this woman (unless further information comes out) seems to have a supportive family, and a healthy older child - which means it is not a stretch to believe she was genuinely ill and not just hankering after a living Gucci bag.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

The government needs to invest time into training new families on the expectations of what having a baby is, I think people think it is like a pet.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

I agree with gogogo that parenting classes should be mandatory, but I think they should actually start BEFORE conception occurs. Might also help the unwanted pregnancy rate here and solve two major problems in one.

Funny isnt it - like the movie where Keanu Reeves said "you need a licence to keep a dog, even catch a fish, but theyll let any old xxxxx be a parent".

-6 ( +4 / -10 )

Just want to add though that parenting classes will not help people with true PND. It is a condition WAY beyond the normal feelings of inadequacy and feelings overwhelmed. That needs a separate plan including recognition of the condition, advice for family members and discreet but easily attainable medical support.

-10 ( +3 / -13 )

Another "inconvenient accessory dispatched"?

True that one month after giving birth the chance for depression is high. Also true that in Japan, there is no help to those who so desperately need it.

But this woman is no victim. She wasn't in a unique situation. For every abuser like her, there are millions of women around the world in similar circumstances who do not kill their own children. Everybody has stress, but only she (and the likes of her) commit despicable acts on little helpless children because of something so everyday and common. How can anybody feel sorry for the likes of her?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Heres what you do...get off the phone and find out what the baby wants. Food, bathroom, or sleep. Usually at that age it's most likely one of those. Or Stay on the phone and ask mom what to do. It is so sad hearing about these unfit mothers. They just have dreams and fantasies about having babies as simple status symbols and then get shocked that when they find out that it actually takes WORK to take care of a child. Babies are not Gucci bags.

Have you never heard of post-natal depression? Far more likely to be the reason for what has happened here than a mother thinking her second child would be a status symbol like a Gucci bag... Agree with Nicky- feeding, changing, burping and putting down to sleep is no guarantee whatsoever that a one-month old will stop crying.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

As many have been saying here for years, in order for Japan get back on track one of the things that MUST be done is TOTAL overhaul of how people go about their lives, imo most have pretty crappy lives, lots of bad lives & only a small portion actually have good balanced lives.

I aint taking about $$$ so much, a simple change in the insipid stupidity of how most people "WORK" wud do wonders, if Japan cud create a better work/life balance it wud help in SO MANY AREAS, but I dont think many in Japan even see this as an issue, its pretty messed up & this article is a result partially due to this.

I mean what kind of A-hole husband wud go on a biz trip leaving his wife ALONE with a new born, ditto for this guys company, there are accomplices to this tragedy!

HEY JAPAN, time to start getting a clue & fixing some of this if you want to have any sort of future worth living!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Mother animals in zoos who kill their babies are given more sympathy.

But human mothers in human zoos (cities) are given very little.

When was last time any of you offered support to a new mother? I am sure some of you have, but most of you probably hasn't. And its very easy to sit there and declare how perfectly you would raise a baby while never actually lifting a finger.

I say all this as someone who is fairly useless in rearing a baby. My wife at least has her mother close by. I am in the next room so much I might as well be on a business trip. I just consider myself lucky that my wife deals with her stress better.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

A sad reality of the society we live in. What is that about man's inhumanity to man? Many things could be done to help these parents in trouble, but very little is done and the result is another dead child. Yeah, you can blame post natal depression if you like, but I'd be more inclined to blame society in general for failing to provide support for these people. These sorts of incidents should not come as any surprise when you consider that, 60% of Japanese adults suffer from depression and 30% have been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness.

I've always said, "To drive a car you have to study and pass a test, but anybody can have a baby." Sadly, many people shouldn't have kids!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

A lot needs to be done about encouraging mothers in the job they do. Letting them know that it is a more important job than anything else. That what they do is so important to the future, it is more important than a career. Also it needs to be admitted by the society that it is the most underpaid job, and hasnt been recognized as a equal. It also doesnt need to be given child allowances as if it is possible to be rated,but a situation where men, the fathers earn an income that can take care of a family. An income that allows a husband to support his family, so in case like this situation that the father is away, he can provide the mother with enough so she can feed her stress by shopping or whatever it costs to help a mother through. It doesnt need curricular lessons before any one can fall pregnant-though including it in health education at school, childrearing, rather than just the anatomy would be good. Also, I would probably guess that the father needs to talk some more. Needs to be showering his wife in encouragemnet and compliments, and words that acknowledge that he needs her home looking after their chilrdren, that there isnt anybody else he'd rather have doing the job and so on........Having said all that-it's pretty sad that you get to this stage to perhaps kill your own baby. And I have to admit, I am not the type to turn to feeding baby drugs(maybe give me some!) or naming such a problem as a 'condition' sickness or whatever else you want to label it. It is normal, it's just becoming more commonly stressful, because we all avoid admiting what is seriously the problem.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

This monster needs to be put under the jail.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

While I in no way condone what happened, I can understand what (maybe) lead her to snap. I doubt this child was planned, and I doubt this couple had adequate finances to bring up two kids. Again, not saying it's justifiable, but I can understand how someone could snap under these circumstances (which I'm imagining).

0 ( +0 / -0 )

well gaijininfo, you and I are two different people-I cant understand the circumstances that would encourage this sort of snapping. There is a million other ways to snap. I could bust the front window, I could piss on my husbands clothes, I could spend allllll my money on chocolate or pachinko, but this? No, I dont understand it. And going to such a point I think is nothing but selfishness.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It kind of amazes me when a mom kills her baby, women have sympathy and blame it on PPD, but if a man is suffering depression and stress from unemployment, work, etc. & he kills his child, hes a worthless good for nothing who needs a dose of his own medicine. I think we should have the same standard. Either both get sympathy or both are good for nothings because stress and depression have no gender lines. All can experience it. Unfortunately some people dont have the self control to keep themselves from taking it out on others.

As for TigersTokyoDomes comment, I also dont like criminal names being listed whether they are accused or convicted because it puts a black mark on their family in the neighborhood. It can cause children to be ostracized. It can causes spouses and parents to be blamed or looked down upon. If there is no reason to list the name, then it is best to keep it quiet to protect the innocent family members. However, there are times listing a name may be beneficial for example if it were a child molestor, rapist, or any sort of sexual preditor, it could encourage other victims to come forward. Or if it is a suspected criminal on the run, this too would be essential for society to know the name and face. But in a domestic case like this where a living child is involved, I prefer to not know the name because it benefits no one to know.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The young are being killed by the old in a country where the birth rate is already exceedingly low. What a grim future for Japan.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@77777777 - I see the point you are trying to make, but actually, classic depression and PND are actually two completely different illnesses.

PND of the kind I suspect this woman may be suffering from is more akin to psychosis than normal depression. For this reason there have been calls to change the name in the US and other countries from "Post Natal/Partum Depression" to "Post Natal/Partum Illness" (PNI) for the very reasons you have stated. Calling it "depression" actually confuses the issue, because in its extreme form it is not actually a depression at all. It is further confused by the fact that some people DO experience depression after childbirth, and most recover. A very small number of those slip into psychosis.

This is a field - like many other in mental health - that is still evolving as more is understood about the condition. But it really cant be compared with environmental stress - that is generally NOT the underlying cause of psychosis.

-10 ( +0 / -10 )

one more day, one more baby killed by a Japanese mother. What is wrong with society and Japanese mothers? Why every day one mother kills her baby or abuses her child, where is the motherly love...This makes me so sad. Even wild animals take a better care of their off springs.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lovenot, I dont see any difference in Japan than other countries. All countries have similiar problems I think. As for animals, have you owned pets? Ive owned many kinds of pets and believe me animals can abuse and kill their babies too, and when I say kill I mean murder, not accidentally smoother them or something. I mean deliberately kill. As for motherly love, I personally feel there are maternal instincts in women but maternal instincts don`t equal love. Maternal instincts mean to feed and care for the baby/child. But love is much deeper and has to be nutured, cultivated and for some women it has to be learned and encouraged. Unfortunately not all women know how to give or show love to a child and in my opinion that is where other women, family members, and spouses really need to come in and support and encourage a woman who is struggling rather than tell her what a bad parent she is. She needs help but to know how to give love, she has to be given loving guidance, I think. Women need to support women. Just my opinion.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I worry for her other daughter.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

A country with a rapidly falling birth rate, and almsot weekly, we hear about babies abandoned or being killed!

Did any of these women think twice about abortion, condom, Child welfare agencies? Where they can drop kids off? Poor babies! May they rest in peace

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@7 I see what youre saying. I dont agree with labelling it though. Women who havent been loved may find it hard to show love, is that what youre saying? That brings me to the cultural-here in Japan. While I understand that every country faces this issue, each country may came at it differently? Like divorce may be the big producer of it in some countries, and in other countries it may be cultural standards for women are less than favourable. For Japan, which I feel I have a little knowledge about, I get the idea that it is a wave of talk-is maybe how Id describe it. Like as if all the nurses, or all the youchien sensei's have formed a wall of talk, that is so stubborn about how to be the correct mother. Between these two often women dominated fields-nursing and teaching- there is a strangle on the mother. Parents who seem like good parents, are often not loving but technically textbook parents. Could this be the reason Japan gets such a image?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

-and 7-I also agree with your suggestion about men, and stress having no boundaries. So on the whole men and fathers too, again referring to Japan, need an example of loving. And continuing from my talk about the 'wave of textbook talk' men also need to see and hear about other men who are loving and that includes the very specific ineterst of talking, to their wives. But also men being loved and receiving admiration for their efforts. As in this case, the father having to go away at such a time- maybe he really wanted to be able to enjoy his newborn....Sometimes the situation cant change; but the talk between the parties involved is important, and acknowledging that is where each other are at. Acknowledging that textbook talk is only that and that as a couple if you keep the communication up, it doesnt matter what the wave says. grandparents usually only feed the textbook talk too.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As for motherly love, I personally feel there are maternal instincts in women but maternal instincts don`t equal love.

Are you trying to say that all women are same as animals because they do not have feelings but only instincts? I must assure you that a normal woman feels love for her child immediately after conception before it is born...Some psychotic cases like mothers represented every day on JT are not normal humans. I am scared to click the crime section. Every day there is a new case of mothers killing or abusing their kids. It is not normal. I never imagined a parent can kill children on a daily basis before coming to Japan.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I never imagined a parent can kill children on a daily basis before coming to Japan.

It happens every day in every state in the world (except the Vatican probably), and actually occurs to a FAR lesser extent in Japan than the vast majorities of countries (including your own). Why don't people understand that Japan has one of the lowest murder RATES in the world? This includes mothers killing their children? Why do people have to use every crime in Japan to fill their own distorted imaginings?

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

yeah, maybe Ive been in Japan too long......so I agree where it was said about women supportig women. We need to stop talking about being mothers and in the same mouthful talking about being eductaed and working and money and all that. Isnt there enough to talk about with just mothering alone? It seems as soon as you mention that invloves daily life mothering, you've pressed everybodies boredom button.

and oginome-are you saying that everycountry in the world is the same-Id say that is your distorted imaginings. But Id bet that boredom button is pretty much the same attitude in a lot of countries and fora lot of people. And Id even bet that for you talking about children without talking about a career and work is impossible

0 ( +0 / -0 )

and oginome-are you saying that everycountry in the world is the same-Id say that is your distorted imaginings. But Id bet that boredom button is pretty much the same attitude in a lot of countries and fora lot of people. And Id even bet that for you talking about children without talking about a career and work is impossible

What do you mean 'the same', yes, in countries all over the world, murders occurs on a daily basis. Nothing distorted there, when it's a fact. Another fact is that due to Japan's extremely low murder rate relative to most countries, that this murder in Japan occurs far less. Lovenot's assertion that it didn't occur to him/her that a mother could kill her child before they came to Japan is ridiculous when the mother/child murder rate in his/her home country is most likely higher.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

oh well just ignore what I wrote as if it has no significance. Do I really need to bother mentioning comparisons of murder or suicide or how about this, family sizes? You get defensive before anybody has even said anything like; Japanese are hopeless at parenting, great cooks, definitely look good wives, but parenting aint up their alley...??? Now you can get defensive.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It is an escalating problem which the government doesn't seem to be in any rush to try to tackle. I am not even sure a parent is prosecuted here for neglect if they leave young kids home alone and the kids die in a fire or fall off a balcony or something.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Something is very very wrong in Japanese society!! What on earth can make a mother kill her own little innocent baby?? Stress?? Mental problems?? Maybe she hates her husband and wanted to hurt him as well?? I'm no mind reader but this really really sucks! I hope she gets the death penalty before she kills her other child. RIP little angel

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Lovenot, of course Im NOT saying "all women are the same as animals". Please read my post again. What Im saying is animals cant be used as an illustration for good mothering because animals are guilty of abuse and murder too. In fact, when a person kills another we often call the murderer an "animal" because they are acting in an animalistic way. But I am saying not all women automatically know how to show love for their babies. If all women knew how, then why are so many grown children seeking out psychologists because of how their moms treated them as a child? Years ago I saw a statistic that more women abuse their children than men. Mothers may feel love but they dont always know how to convey that love as love, and the same can be said of men.

illsayit, yes I think textbook parenting causes a lot of problems because textbooks and professionals tend to paint a picture of if you do XYZ, then your child will be a good child. But when parents do XYZ and their kids dont turn out as the book or professionals promised then the parents might conclude the problem is the child since the parents followed the professionals formula so it cant the be parents. Parenting isn`t as simple as the professionals paint it to be because every parent comes with different circumstances and each child is an individual.

NIcky, although the woman in this case may have had PPD/PNI, I dont see her condition as any different than a man who is at the breaking point of stress. Of course, at this point we can only speculate about her condition. The report does not say she had PPD so to automatically assume a mom that kills her baby has PPD is the same as making the assumption that a homeless man that kills someone must be schizophrenic. He may be or he may not be, but perhaps schizophrenics would take offence to such an assumption just like perhaps PPD sufferers may take offense at the assumption that all female baby murderers must have PPD. Probably the majority of women with PPD dont murder their babies. A woman can kill her baby for many reasons.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Why is it so heart wrenching to read JT and the comments about this little girl or that they may not have resourses to raise her! What is love? Your countries beauty and past culture give me the desire to want to come see it all! But the struggle of misunderstanding keeps me away!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mothers may feel love but they dont always know how to convey that love as love,

Are you saying that because mothers do not know how to convey love they kill their babies? This is complete nonsense. I tell you that normal women love and protect their babies and prefer to die instead of the child in case of danger. And it is a fact that child abuse and child murder in Japan is on the rise. Japanese mothers, japanese society are so wrong for letting this happen/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

oh well just ignore what I wrote as if it has no significance. Do I really need to bother mentioning comparisons of murder or suicide or how about this, family sizes? You get defensive before anybody has even said anything like; Japanese are hopeless at parenting, great cooks, definitely look good wives, but parenting aint up their alley...??? Now you can get defensive.

What on earth are you talking about? I never disputed the reasons for the mother/child murder happened in Japan, or made any kind of blanket generalistion about Japanese people, just saying the murder rate in Japan is much lower than most other countries, which made LoveNot's assertion that it was Japan of all places that enlightened him/her to mothers murdering their children such a bizarre statement, when it probably occurs in his/ her country to an even greater extent.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Readers, no further comparisons with other countries please. They are not relevant to this discussion.

So upon rereading: why was the 4yo at the grandmothers? Cant a woman take care of her newborn and elder child at the same time? Maybe this was what pushed the circumstances? Textbook says it isnt possible to do and to be a good-looking wife at the same time (probably need a lot more dishevelled looking mothers in them textbooks. Maybe all them instructors need toget a spiked hair do and dirty clothes and a grumpy face when they hand out the lessons at the houken centre,instead of the ironed look that eventually turns ugly). Maybe the mother had just got off the phone and from telling the grandmother bring my daughter home, and the grandmother refused and used the excuse that daughter-in-law had a baby to look after? Maybe the grandmother couldnt get over the situation that she had wanted more children and was still craving for a child herself so she pushed her vulnerable daughter-in-law to thinking she was nothing but a baby breeder for her......scenario case 1/???

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not again.... I'm really sick of reading news of this sort.

With birthrates declining, population aging, Japan is surely going to die out.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Those of us in Japan raising children and foreigners I feel are tackling a very difficult situation. I never realized it when I was in the woes of early marriage, I was just lovin my way through. Like every country Japan has it's character. It seems to me that the best way to deal with it, is to deal with where your at, and let the rest slide off your back. It doesnt mean that you are wrong, and that there are sometimes genarlizationsthat you can apply, but I would question each one how really serious they are about them moral standards they state? Seriously. and yuuhuuu oginome, you can now come and rationalize this: until you get a Japanese mother and wife going 'yeah' and not only that producing a sentence that is agreeable with what you are saying about Japan, well it's more like farting in the wind.......

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The goverment is worried about the birthrate, maybe they should also be worried about this behaviour, too many of these news items recently :(

0 ( +0 / -0 )

With birthrates declining, population aging, Japan is surely going to die out.

Yes, somebody has to stop the cruelty of Japanese mothers. what is the source of it?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I have no words abt this crazy womans... I guess foreignwomans are more loveable to raising a child ...

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I don't see why "abuse" is used in this story. It's murder, plain and simple. (The story says the mom smothered the child.)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This type of news is becoming standard in Japan. Hey!... calling all Psychiatrist (Shrinks) Japan is now a lucrative place to practice your profession. Mentally disturbed individuals are on the rise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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