crime

Woman arrested for murder of 11-day-old daughter in guesthouse

57 Comments

A woman has been arrested for allegedly killing her 11-day-old daughter at a guesthouse in Higashimurayama, Tokyo, on Saturday.

According to NTV, police received a call from guesthouse staff reporting that a guest had suffocated her baby girl on the premises.

Police say that Sumiko Nobe, 36, allegedly placed her hand over the nose and mouth of her daughter Yuina at around 7 a.m., suffocating her.

Nobe was arrested at the scene on a charge of attempted murder, NTV said. Yuina was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead by doctors. Nobe was quoted by police as saying that she had felt no maternal affection for her daughter since she was born.

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57 Comments
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A-D-O-P-T-I-O-N !!! For crying out loud.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

Infanticide was pretty common at the turn of the 20th century(back when birth control wasn't readily practiced). Babies were wrapped in swaddling and damp shoji paper was placed over their mouth and nostrils. Perhaps a public education campaign to highlight the fact that adoption is now an acceptable Japanese thing to do might lessen these incidents. RIP little innocent one.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Rest in peace little girl.

So it takes 11 years for her to find out she doesn't like her daughter? Talk about a slow learner. She could have given out the baby for adoption (as Speed said) as soon as she was born, or even when the girl was growing up as a toddler.

I wonder what pushed the mother over the edge? And why did she choose a guesthouse to commit the act even? Weird.

-8 ( +3 / -11 )

So it takes 11 years

huh?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

@Elvensilvan - The child was 11 days old, not 11 years old.

Sounds like puerperal psychosis....

8 ( +8 / -0 )

11 day old, she left hospital and seems had nowhere to go but a guest house! Sad story. There are way too many stories like this. Education about birth control, parenting skills, Adoption, a mechanism to support single and young parents, taking money from the fathers wage to support his offspring- responsibility. The laws being changed to reflect reality. Acceptance that society has changed would be a start. What a waist of 2 lives.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

There is a thing called adoption, the rest of the practices this

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Most are adults who are adopted in Japan, for example to run a family business where there are no heirs living or trustworthy. I've read only about 2 percent who are adopted in Japan are children. The rest are adults.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Post partum depression? Very little details reported about the Mother's family circumstances. Was she married? Did she have family to help? It just makes me so sad. 11 days. Rest in peace beautiful, little girl. I am so sorry this tragedy happened.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Awful, awful, awful! Rest in peace, poor girl. I wish somebody could prevent it...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

11 years of no maternal affection?? It's insane. But again, I think it's probably a common case. I was at MacDonald's yesterday. Many young Mothers were eating burgers, nuggets and feeding the young children the same. Some children cried, fell asleep cause they're tired. But the Mothers kept yakking like for hours...and what was disturbing was one Mother virtually hit the crying child and shouted at her....perhaps that's what this woman meant by 'no maternal affection'.

-9 ( +1 / -10 )

The sad thing about this story is that it always appears to me as if society at large doesn't care. I am convinced that japan is not an ideal environment to raise a child. There seems to be little in the way of support and the government constantly demonstrates it has no empathy or compassion towards children and parents.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

ooops...sorry thought it was 11 years...but again...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

So it takes 11 years for her to find out she doesn't like her daughter? Talk about a slow learner.

Yes, slow learner for sure.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I read recently (in the GW I think) that 85% (ish) of adoptions in Japan are of adult males, so that they can carry on the family business, name or whatever. I don't think that adoption of infants is very common at all. I feel nothing but pity for this woman who, as some posters (the ones who actually read the artcile properly and thought about it) pointed out, had nowhere to go but a hostel, with her child. Terribly sad.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Being able to produce a child doesn't qualify anyone for the title of mother.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@NetNinja I think you should just speak your mind. Apparently this woman had some mental problems. I think we all get the sarcasm.

@seesaw1 I've also seen these large groups of women. The worst I've seen was at a McDonalds with a smoking section. They don't have the smoking section anymore but I remember the mothers puffing on cigarettes in front of their children. The young girls just sat there listening to adult talk.

My question is: Are these single mother's that are hurting their children? Where's the father in this situation? Men have always been the guardians of the family so I'm a bit puzzled that this situation was not reported beforehand.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Post partum depression it seems. I am worried about the medical practice of some countries after giving birth. After few days of hospitalization, they already want the patient out even after a major procedure. In my country, you can stay in the hospital as long as you want until you are comfortable already to leave the hospital. I have a friend in Japan who was asked to leave the hospital after one week when he had his kidney transplant. I feel they are more concerned here with the room your are occupying than the patient.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

then use a condom.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

As someone already mentioned, it might be post partum depression.

Sad thing about this country is that adoption seems to be very rare, and that birth control methods that are under the control of women is very much frowned upon by society.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It's totally beyond me how a human being can do this to a totally defenceless baby.

Rest in peace little girl.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It'll come back and hit her while she sits in prison thinking about what she did.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Who really knows what this lady's frame of mind was-from the story this lady was alone.so where's the Father? Her Parents?sounds like Post-Partum Depression to me.More programs(non-judgemental)are really needed.Sad tale indeed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I wonder if prisoners deal with child killers here like they do in the U.S.? Or are they isolated from the rest of the population?

I would of taken that little baby in a heart beat. Poor little baby only got 11 days on this Earth. RIP little angel.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yeah, yeah, yeah, post-natal depression and all that stuff, but this nutter is different. It's called, pre-natal insanity!

Another week in Japan, another half a dozen infanticides.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

There should be stiffer penalties just for baby killers.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

How can you charge someone with murder for something that is only 11 days old? This makes no sense at all. Probably infanticide should be a separate crime.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

Extremely sad.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Jesus, she was a grown woman and not some young mother.

Sadly, adoption isn't seen as 'okay' here - they don't trust anyone who doesn't have the same blood when it comes to kids. Pathetic? Yes.

Add in there is little support for women with PPD. Japan needs to do something about the birth rate and about their lack of support for moms.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Very heartbreaking. I'm so sorry for this baby to so horribly like this. By suffocation. About the woman, she was 36, not 16 or 26. She knew very well she could have get rid off the baby right when she found out about her pregnancy, or go somewhere and drop the baby in the local children's home. But she chose to kill the baby instead. I feel nothing for her, except pity. Now Nobe Sumiko will have to face her demons every night she goes to sleep.

It took me 10 months, few hours of labor and lots of pain to bring each one of my children into this world. It's so sad that for some people it takes only few minutes to snatch the life out of their own children.

-2 ( +6 / -8 )

If I ever find myself homeless with no money no food and all my children suffering with me, I will beg someone to take care of them, but I will NOT kill them!!!!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

@tokyokawasaki

The sad thing about this story is that it always appears to me as if society at large doesn't care. I am convinced that japan is not an ideal environment to raise a child. There seems to be little in the way of support and the government constantly demonstrates it has no empathy or compassion towards children and parents.

Excellent post. Thank you.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

@ThaiGirlDEC. 05, 2011 - 05:25PM JST

How can you charge someone with murder for something that is only 11 days old? This makes no sense at all. Probably infanticide should be a separate crime.

wow.....and this post is coming from a "woman"..

Apparently, to some "people" a newborn baby has no value, same as an aborted baby.... unbelievable!

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

I think Japan is a wonderful place to raise a child. It's much safer than most countries and there are lots of support programs from the government including financial support.

I understand that people like to think education will eradicate this problem but the murder rate will never become zero anywhere that people exist.

What I think is that foreigners have a "knee-jerk" reaction to this kind of news and they rely on "talking-points", just like some people believe Obama is a muslim or that evolution is not real.

For we Japanese it's not really something that we take seriously considering foreigners make up such a small percentage of the population.

None of us really knows why that woman did what she did. Please don't pretend otherwise.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Sounds like a case of postpartum psychosis which usually develops within the first 2 to 3 weeks after delivery. If this were the case, it's sad not only heartbreaking that a baby was killed but also sad that the mother didn't have the support she needed. RIP little one.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Depends on how 'wonderful' your life is. Some people have miserable lives despite their best efforts. Yes, we don't know what was going through this lady's head but by trying to understand, we may be able to head off another tragedy in the future. For example, if she is suffering from post partum depression, studying her case may help doctors and hospital staff to recognize symptoms in mothers while still in hospital after giving birth.

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Adoption was brought up by several posters. Does anyone know or have firsthand experience about adoption in Japan?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I'm not convinced that discussing this tragedy on an English language website will prevent this from happening again and also I think post-partum depression is not something new. Doctors and Nurses in Japan are already trained in such well-known conditions.

This kinds of cases will always happen. They happen everywhere. You simply can't control or prevent such things from happening in this world. I'm sorry but that's the hard truth.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

That's why there is a 'Comments' section so people can discuss the news. Not much different from discussing the latest news with your partner or colleagues at work.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

That's not at all what you claimed at first.

but by trying to understand, we may be able to head off another tragedy in the future.

I think there are some serious issues with this.

1.) It's very hard to discuss a case when there are very few details and no access to the patient.

2.) Very few Japanese Doctors would read the comments section on this website.

3.) I'm not sure how you would personally be able to head off another tragedy by simply discussing it on a forum.

Isn't everyone, in the end, just speculating from scant information and adding their own agenda to it?

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Well said dolphingirl. We know nothing about this woman or her circumstances so none of us should be judging.

@ bonword (and others mentioning adoption) - a friend worked in a children's home in Tokyo and kids just don't get adopted. No better than it was 20 years ago. A Canadian colleague used to tell Japanese friends he was adopted & the response was usually "Eh? Why?" -

Said friend at the kids' home ended up adopting but went through hell with social services- having a gaijin husband was a big problem!

Anyway, I hope this lady gets the help she needs - she's going to be dealing with this the rest of her life & please don't say "Serves her right" - if you've never suffered PND/PPD you have no idea what it can do to you.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Mentally sick woman. Bring a human being, a life into this world and destroy it. Don't know if she is very mentally screwed up or simply a very cold cold human being. People want to boom boom and have good times but don't want to take any responsibility. Condoms ?

Same thing should be done upon this woman regardless she's the mother. You don't do something like that to a little baby.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

Maybe she wanted to have an abortion, but couldn't afford it. Maybe she would have given it up for adoption had that option been presented to her at the hospital. Who knows what the circumstances were when this woman got pregnant. For all we know, she could have been raped. Somebody staying in a guest house after giving birth is the kind of person who slips through the cracks of society. Sad story from all angles.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Adoption was brought up by several posters. Does anyone know or have firsthand experience about adoption in Japan? I worked in an orphanage school here - kids don't get adopted all that often. Deep rooted belief that you could end up with a nightmare child because you don't know their blood line. There has also been numerous horror movies made about adopted kids killing their adopted families...

JAP - again, I point out to others this is the name you picked and capitalized the letters - as far as I am concerned, the more discussion on mental health issues, the better. If you think doctors and nurses are trained well in this area, I highly disagree. Mental health issues are a huge and growing problem - and often ignored. If doctors and nurses were so informed about this, they would have noticed something. Women here stay for days in the hospital, not a day or two like home. That is plenty of time to assess how a mother is bonding with her baby and her mental state. In her case, she was let down and an innocent baby was killed.

As for judging, I don't think people are "blaming" her. She was obviously sick but a killing of an 11 day old baby is horrific and therefore, comments of "crazy" will be said.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Jannetto and Tmarie. Good points brought up. I do know one family, hubby is a foreigner and wife is Japanese. They adopted a little girl in Osaka and then moved here with the Japanese inlaws. To take a child into your bosom and give them another chance at having a loving family is truly a beautiful thing.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@tmarie

Adoption was brought up by several posters. Does anyone know or have firsthand experience about adoption in Japan? I worked in an orphanage school here - kids don't get adopted all that often. Deep rooted belief that you could end up with a nightmare child because you don't know their blood line. There has also been numerous horror movies made about adopted kids killing their adopted families...

JAP - again, I point out to others this is the name you picked and capitalized the letters - as far as I am concerned, the more discussion on mental health issues, the better. If you think doctors and nurses are trained well in this area, I highly disagree. Mental health issues are a huge and growing problem - and often ignored. If doctors and nurses were so informed about this, they would have noticed something. Women here stay for days in the hospital, not a day or two like home. That is plenty of time to assess how a mother is bonding with her baby and her mental state. In her case, she was let down and an innocent baby was killed.

As for judging, I don't think people are "blaming" her. She was obviously sick but a killing of an 11 day old baby is horrific and therefore, comments of "crazy" will be said.

Very well said, my friend. RIP baby -_-;

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

BlueWitchDEC. 05, 2011 - 06:32PM JST

@ThaiGirlDEC. 05, 2011 - 05:25PM JST How can you charge someone with murder for something that is only 11 days old? This makes no sense at all. Probably infanticide should be a separate crime. wow.....and this post is coming from a "woman".. Apparently, to some "people" a newborn baby has no value, same as an aborted baby.... unbelievable!

It's interesting that you took her comment that way. I actually thought she meant it should be a more serious penalty/crime than a "regular" murder.

0 ( +1 / -2 )

Psychological support for people who have mental illness or problems is generally lacking in Japan, not only institutionally, but also within the social norms and interactions of people here. The response that people usually give to people with problems is to tell them to gaman/ganbaru, or to resent them because they didn't hide their problems, which is what is socially expected. JustAnotherPerson claiming that commenting by foreigners has no purpose is a poor provocation of commenters here. Comments here have supported our decision that my Japanese wife should give birth to our children in my home country, which provide better support for new mothers than this county's hospitals and doctors do.

Also I agree with BlueWitch's interpretations of ThaiGirls post. She called an 11 day old child "something" instead of "someone." It has a strong nuance that indicates someone thinks of babies as less than human.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Higashimurayama is all I had to read, it is a crap hole here in the western part of Tokyo, too many of these young women, getting pregant from some guy, or customers etc..they do not know what to do after all the sex and CONSEQUENCES that come along with drunken nights/or days or drugged up and they end up in these horrible situations. RIP little baby girl

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

How can you charge someone with murder for something that is only 11 days old? This makes no sense at all. Probably infanticide should be a separate crime.

What really makes no sense is this comment... she willingly and knowingly KILLED another living human being. Isn't that the definition of murder???? To add it, its mother killing her own child which is the most heinous form of murder imaginable! I'm just surprised that the j-gov didn't call it "manslaughter" as they commonly do with domestic murders.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

if you cant afford to raise them put the innocent children to the orphanage. dont punish this innocent child to pay the price of your wrongdoings.your conscience will haunt you for the rest of your life. rest in peace little one.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

JustAnotherPersonDEC. 05, 2011 - 06:54PM JST

I think Japan is a wonderful place to raise a child. It's much safer than most countries and there are lots of support programs from the government including financial support.

Care to be more specific? I think you assume that the readers here on JapanToday just got off the plane and are ignorant to the situation in Japan.

I understand that people like to think education will eradicate this problem but the murder rate will never become zero anywhere that people exist.

We know that. Could you give JT readers more credit?

What I think is that foreigners have a "knee-jerk" reaction to this kind of news and they rely on "talking-points", just like some people believe Obama is a muslim or that evolution is not real

.

As an American, I can tell you that you've never seen a "knee-jerk" reaction. It's very painful for the person in front of us.

Perhaps you need to have a knee-jerk reaction of your own. Any doctor will tell you that a "knee-jerk" reaction is healthy. It's when you don't kick.....that's when you should be nervous. Do you remember the girl in China who laid there dead in the street bleeding to death. No one had the "knee-jerk" reaction you speak of.

For we Japanese it's not really something that we take seriously considering foreigners make up such a small percentage of the population.

Thanks for the reminder Goliath.

None of us really knows why that woman did what she did. Please don't pretend otherwise.

With all due respect, speculation is what happens when details and transparency is not available. You cannot simply command people to turn off this function.

We simply cannot at any time, any point, become numb to this. It is how you baked your society but any attempts to make us apathetic to this type of news is futile. What happens to one can happen to all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Very very sad, and I agree with dolphingirl the most likely cause based on the information given is Post Natal Psychosis which is a WHOLE different ballgame from PNI (Post Natal Illness - not supposed to call it "depression" anymore as I was so abruptly told by a nasty nurse when I tried to get help myself years ago. Her attitude and the attitude of doctors here was what led me to start supporting Japanese mothers with PNI, and in particular their families. Support one sufferer and you help one sufferer. Support family, neighbours and friends and you support an entire neighbourhood of sufferers. I used to have leaflets but I dont anymore. I have noticed the help and information available improving over the years but access to it is still very "patchy".

On the other hand she could have been raped, mentally ill before pregnancy, or maybe she is just a horrible, evil person who didnt like the crying - point is we dont know.

However, discusssion of the issue on ANY website English or otherwise is one of the most important things we can do to get the information out there. Someone reading this right now may be looking at their wife/sister/relative and wondering how they can help. Get in touch with support groups on the internet, go to the ward office and ask what support services they have, see a TRUSTED doctor for medical help - drugs DO have a place in treatment and there are some you can take even when breastfeeding that will help - a common issue with not wanting treatment is fear of taking anything when breastfeeding that may affect the milk. If you need a stronger type then do consider giving up breastfeeding. There is SO much pressure on young mothers here to breastfeed and inability to do so leads to even more feelings of being overwhelmed and a failure when in certain isolated cases treatment needs to take priority. Dont let the doctors give you tranquilisers unless absolutely necessary - this is often a knee-jerk treatment and they do NOT help in the short term unless the patient is an immediate danger to herself or anyone around her. Otherwise, they just mask the issue, make her feel even more helpless and ultimately contribute to the spiral-downwards (this is controversial and subjective but my opinion - some medical professionals may disagree and a lot depends on individual cases).

This is a long complicated topic and I could go on and on but the single biggest thing that gets people through it is this: 1) It IS a recognised medical condition, you are not going crazy 2) It IS entirely treatable and/or manageable and 3) You WILL get better.

Hope this helps for anyone going through it or knowing someone who is.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

I've read most of the posts here. I'm most surprised by JustAnotherPerson. I can't help but feel as if he looked down on us all.

I believe we have a right to discuss any news story. It's true that we often have to speculate about what happened. This can exacerbate the situation at times. However such speculation are very indirect requests for the truth if you are looking deeper at the dynamics of language.

JustAnotherPerson needs to read his own post again. He looked down on us all.

It's a good question, why should we be concerned? It's just a Japanese girl? It's not our problem? Better them than us?

J.A.P (Respectfully) not trying to offend. Which race of foreigners are you talking about? We care about any human life. This girl being killed by her own mother is horrible. Furthermore, we don't have a complete story. People will speculate. That's just what they do. Maybe you should get your advertisement on here hon, you could get paid off of it. Then you might not hate it so much.

Have a nice day.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

NetNinja, Nicky and Crystalyle. Hear hear! Well said.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It is sad that people in influential positions don't care enough to at least try to implement policies that will make a difference in the lives of children. Japanese people are forgiving? Or is it that they just don't care? RIP little one. You deserved better.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Nobe was quoted by police as saying that she had felt no maternal affection for her daughter since she was born.

Knowingly she went ahead and ended this innocent child's life instead of giving her up for adoption. My wife and I would've gladly taken this burden from her and raised the baby as our own! We are up in age (over 40's and 50's) so generating one is totally "out of the question" for us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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