crime

Woman goes on trial for burying body of newborn baby in Tokyo park

39 Comments

A 23-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of murder after burying the body of her newborn baby girl in a park in Tokyo in November 2019 went on trial on Monday.

According to the indictment read out in the Tokyo District Court, Sayuri Kitai gave birth in a toilet at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on Nov 3, 2019, then took the infant and buried her corpse in Italy Park, about 500 meters from JR Hamamatsucho Station.

The corpse was found partially buried at around 10:45 a.m. on Nov 8 by a park visitor who saw the baby’s face and one arm sticking out of the ground.

Prosecutors said Kitai, a company employee from Kobe, was charged with murder as the infant is believed to have been alive after her birth and tissues were found stuffed down her throat.

Kitai had just completed four years at university at the time. She took a plane to Tokyo on the evening of Nov 3 for a job interview. After leaving Haneda airport, she took a taxi to the park, where her movements were captured on a street surveillance camera. She was seen carrying a paper bag.

Kitai’s lawyer said she has admitted to the charge but said she panicked after giving birth because she had no one she could talk to about her pregnancy. The lawyer said Kitai’s mind became a complete blank after she gave birth in the toilet.

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39 Comments
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There is a thing called "adoption." I was adopted. And then there is a thing called family and community support for such women. It's known as "compassion." Too bad these two concepts are so lacking here.

16 ( +21 / -5 )

Another periodic, sad story of some young women’s hopelessness & desperation in Japan: 23y.o., just finished uni, flew from [?] for a job interview, alone in Tokyo and a baby born in an airport toilet. Would say her mental health was stressed to its maximum. The original story of her arrest Nov 7, 2020 is ‘no longer available” for more details.

11 ( +13 / -2 )

Motive or not, stuffing toilet paper down this defenseless angel is premeditated murder. That said, she is in dire need of counseling. As stated by others here, the ramification of her senseless act will bring serious repercussion. RIP Little Angel.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

This is just sad…a defenseless baby killed! It’s amazing that the family members, friends or acquaintances of Kitai did not know that she was pregnant or probably knew but didn’t give any support whatsoever to her thus turning her into a killer! But knowing the Japanese legal system I won’t be surprised if she walks free or gets a suspended sentence.

Really? Is it that hard to believe? She is a university student, which means, in all likelihood that her classes for the past 2 years (roughly) have been online, and had little if any physical contact with any of them over that time. Also not to mention her fear about saying anything to any of them.

Yes she is an adult, and yes she committed a crime, and yes she should face the consequences of her actions as well. BUT she also needs some serious help too! She is going to have to live the rest of her long life with the memory of what she did.

4 ( +10 / -6 )

Yubaru 07:52 am JST

Really? Is it that hard to believe? She is a university student, which means, in all likelihood that her classes for the past 2 years (roughly) have been online, and had little if any physical contact with any of them over that time. 

I initially reacted the same way, but this incident occurred in 2019 before the COVID outbreak.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Typical maturity of young Japanese women. Can't be solved with Universal Solution #1, An Angry Pout... So move on to #2, Hide It Out Of Sight, (like a child would) and the problem has gone away

Someone would say that is Japanese cultural trait.

The corpse was found partially buried at around 10:45 a.m. on Nov 8 by a park visitor who saw the baby’s face and one arm sticking out of the ground.

Was that the baby's last fight for survival or did Kitai run away because she was seen before completely burying the child?

Kitai’s lawyer said she has admitted to the charge but said she panicked after giving birth because she had no one she could talk to about her pregnancy. The lawyer said Kitai’s mind became a complete blank after she gave birth in the toilet.

Another cultural trait is to attempt to put the blame on others. Stuffing a child's mouth with tissue to avoid crying, placing the child in a bag, taking a taxi to a park to bury the child, and continuing on for a job interview does not seem like blank mind of a woman.

It seems like the mind of a person who had no interest in caring for a child at this point, so they decided to hide the child's birth at all costs.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

What on earth are you talking about? Abortions are freely available in Japan.

Another example Japanese grey area to appear like Japan is a certain way about an issue.

In fact, the law is so broad that anyone can have an abortion. The problem is that process is quite invasive of one's privacy, and it costs several thousands of dollars. It costs a month's salary or more for the average Taro and Tomomi.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

@MilesTeg

Really? Is it that hard to believe? She is a university student, which means, in all likelihood that her classes for the past 2 years (roughly) have been online, and had little if any physical contact with any of them over that time. Also not to mention her fear about saying anything to any of them.

Actually read the article! This happened on Nov. 3, 2019. She has already graduated from university before she gave birth.

What pandemic are you talking about?

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Tom A.Today  03:14 pm JST

Mothers shouldn’t kill their unborn infants inside or outside the womb. If she’s guilty, then lock her up. Abortion is always and everywhere evil.

How does one kill an unborn infant outside of the womb?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

DanielsanToday  09:57 am JST

If abortions were freely available as they are in most modern countries, this sad case might never have happened.

"In Japan, abortions are performed at designated OB/GYN clinics. It is a legal surgical procedure for patients with economical and social reasons." https://japanhealthinfo.com/abortiontermination-of-pregnancy/

You have no idea what you're talking about. Maybe you're confusing Japan with state of Texas.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

YubaruToday  07:52 am JST

This is just sad…a defenseless baby killed! It’s amazing that the family members, friends or acquaintances of Kitai did not know that she was pregnant or probably knew but didn’t give any support whatsoever to her thus turning her into a killer! But knowing the Japanese legal system I won’t be surprised if she walks free or gets a suspended sentence.

Really? Is it that hard to believe? She is a university student, which means, in all likelihood that her classes for the past 2 years (roughly) have been online, and had little if any physical contact with any of them over that time. Also not to mention her fear about saying anything to any of them.

Yes she is an adult, and yes she committed a crime, and yes she should face the consequences of her actions as well. BUT she also needs some serious help too! She is going to have to live the rest of her long life with the memory of what she did.

Do you know her? How do you know she'd feel this way? Maybe she just doesn't care. That's also possible too. She could've used contraception. You know...it's called a condom and they can be bought at any drugstore or online. She could've had an abortion within an extended period of time. She failed on both accounts. Stuffed tissues into a newborn and suffocated it then buries it with part of the face and arm sticking out of the ground. She can get mental health counseling while she's in prison. A completely avoidable crime.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

If abortions were freely available as they are in most modern countries, this sad case might never have happened.

What on earth are you talking about? Abortions are freely available in Japan.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The lawyer said Kitai’s mind became a complete blank after she gave birth in the toilet.

That’s going to be a hard sell.

If she was worried she couldn’t handle a child, that’s why abortion exists. Better to terminate it while it still a half-formed mass of cells than to give birth and kill it.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Similar to the Aichi case June 7, 2020 yet that young woman’s mother found her in their local park, took her to the hospital and the hospital reported the absence of the baby.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/20-year-old-woman-arrested-for-abandoning-body-of-newborn-in-park-toilet

No disposition on her “abandonment of a body” is given. Maybe that case just ‘went away’.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

First of all, I'm stunned she could go anywhere after giving birth. A woman's body goes through so much trauma during childbirth.

Secondly, Japan really needs more mental health resources readily available along with a more comprehensive sex ed syllabus in schools.

Third, stop stigmatizing single mothers and present them with equal job opportunities. Clearly this poor woman felt as though she had no other option than to snuff out the life of her own flesh and blood. I really hope she gets the help she needs.

0 ( +8 / -8 )

Here’s the original 2019 stories @purple_depressed_bacon and location pictures for context of when & where the newborn was found:

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191108/p2a/00m/0na/011000c

https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/11/a85b00797523-body-of-newborn-found-buried-in-central-tokyo-park.html

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I agree with all the comments that the society as a whole needs to be more accepting of single mothers (i.e. job market)... this country is so obsessed with perfection and so unforgiving to those who've made mistakes (single mothers, ex-convicts, losing your job etc..), is insane! your life is basically over in Japan when you've "screwed up"

0 ( +5 / -5 )

Abortion in Japan is available to women in limited circumstances, including endangerment of their health or economic hardship. Chapter XXIX of the Penal Code of Japan makes abortion de jure illegal in the country, but exceptions to the law are broad enough that it is widely accepted and practiced.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

She's at the airport that much pregnant

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Right. Because killing the baby inside the womb is different than killing the baby after birth. Taking a human life either way is MURDER.

Right and a woman doesnt have a right to determine what goes on with her own body!

Please feel free to go live in Afghanistan, your beliefs would fit in fine with the people there! Or maybe not!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Yabaru

Right and a woman doesnt have a right to determine what goes on with her own body! 

She did have a right to determine what goes on with her own body. She let someone join the sperm with the egg in her body. That is what SHE chose. She has a right..and she chose wrong. Just because she made a bad choice doesn't mean she has a right to MURDER A BABY!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Her actions in desperation were wrong. - Everything else is just ‘speculation’.

She hasn’t claimed it but, has anyone considered that the child may have been from a rape and the reason she was choosing work away from Kobe?

Or worse, the product of incest? Too ‘shameful’ for the family to bear.

As stated earlier:

*- “Single mothers”, by personal choice, divorce or whatever circumstances, are still looked down upon by Japanese society both Japanese men and ‘some’ Japanese women. *

“Stop stigmatizing single mothers. Clearly this poor woman felt as though she had no other option than to snuff out the life of her own flesh and blood. I really hope she gets the help she needs.”

These were just more desperate actions by another distressed & desperate person in desperate, economic times despite hw ‘sunny’ the government wants to showcase the country t the world.

She will be given ‘justice’ for her crimes: ‘suffocating the newborn’ then, ‘abandoning a body’.

Then, hopefully, with a fair penance served, much regret and true remorse, she can find some way to move on with what’s left her life.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@Johansawada You wrote "your life is basically over in Japan when you've "screwed up" not true if you look at the sentencing guidelines for most criminal offenses in Japan they are very lenient compared to other parts of the world. Once a person is convicted of a crime the victims name is reported not the criminal in most cases. Also they spend very little time in prison and once released they can trickle back into society and live as if they were just on a short vacation. All they have to do is show remorse bow and get a suspended sentence.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

By the same token, it seems that proponents of aborting innocent babies are also in favor of sparing and supporting the lives of convicted killers.

I'm against the death penalty. But it's not "sparing" their life - the loss of their life isn't impending through some outside means, for countries that don't have the death penalty, there was no risk to their life that needs sparing. And if you want to get real technical, what many of us are against isn't the idea of executing someone guilty, it's that we aren't willing to accept the collateral accidental murders by the state of wrongly convicted people who's innocence is determined after they've already died.

So in this other way, we're not interested in "sparing" the life of convicted killers, we're interested in "sparing" the life of wrongly convicted.

You made this claim of the "same token", but that doesn't work. It's a fact that most pro-lifers are also pro-death penalty, where as you can't say most pro-choice have a problem with taking the lives of murderers. So no, it's not the same token, and your supposition was incorrect.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Typical maturity of young Japanese women. Can't be solved with Universal Solution #1, An Angry Pout... So move on to #2, Hide It Out Of Sight, (like a child would) and the problem has gone away.

-1 ( +17 / -18 )

This is just sad…a defenseless baby killed! It’s amazing that the family members, friends or acquaintances of Kitai did not know that she was pregnant or probably knew but didn’t give any support whatsoever to her thus turning her into a killer! But knowing the Japanese legal system I won’t be surprised if she walks free or gets a suspended sentence.

-1 ( +9 / -10 )

Some here claim that pro lifers are bloodthirsty proponents of the death penalty.

By the same token, it seems that proponents of aborting innocent babies are also in favor of sparing and supporting the lives of convicted killers.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

BUT she also needs some serious help too! She is going to have to live the rest of her long life with the memory of what she did.

She will just bury her memory in Alcohol. Seems like the thing to do in Japan.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

First” considering her air travel, job interview and ‘other’ stressors, could this have been an unexpected ‘miscarriage’ of a smaller “newborn, baby, infant” and not a full-term delivery. Seems the prospective employers and HR would have discussed taking a new position with a child on the way? Plus, cameras recorded her with ‘a paper bag’; doesn’t read “dept. store shopping bag”.

- “I'm stunned she could go anywhere after giving birth. A woman's body goes through so much trauma during childbirth.”

”Second”, agreed but Japan’s Education Ministry continues to fail to acknowledge the importance & provision of both, sex education and mental health support for students.

(Perhaps MEXT still thinks it’s better to leave sex ‘education’ to the abundance of available manga, anime, internet porn, SNS, student’s senpai/kohai hierarchy and, of course, the pedophiles and ‘groomers’ prowling schools, juku, sports coaching facilities & after-school ‘club’ activities.)

- “Secondly, Japan really needs more mental health resources readily available along with a more comprehensive sex ed syllabus in schools.

“*Third” **Japan is still, politically & predominantly, a ‘patriarchal**’ (hate that label but for Japan it’s clearly applicable) society, that still sells the dream of marriage as a woman’s best possible future while considering them as ‘second class’ citizens. “Single mothers”, by personal choice, divorce or whatever circumstances, are still looked down upon by both Japanese men and some Japanese women***.

- “Third, stop stigmatizing single mothers and present them with equal job opportunities.

Understood.

Clearly this poor woman felt as though she had no other option than to snuff out the life of her own flesh and blood. I really hope she gets the help she needs.

Desperate actions by desperate people in desperate times. She will be given ‘justice’ for her only crime: ‘abandoning a body’. Then, hopefully she can find some way to move on with her life.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

RIP baby .

So sad situation.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Funny how it is the pro-lifers who are among the most bloodthirsty enthusiasts of the death penalty.

I am 100% against the death penalty. I guess you lost on this one...

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

What an awful year for this young woman. She begins 2019 by most likely having unprotected intercourse, and two months later she graduates from university. Most likely from April, she becomes a “company employee in Kobe” at the age of 22, and with all the new events in her life she decides to proceed with the pregnancy (or just avoids addressing it). We have no information about the man who was obviously in the picture at some time. We know that her job was likely not going well because only a few months later she was in Tokyo interviewing with another company. Her actions in Tokyo (taking the life of her newborn child) were obviously wrong and in violation of our laws, but I feel for her and the struggle she might have endured.

Of course, I’m doing a lot of projecting here. It’s possible that she had a loving group of family and friends providing wise advice that was ignored.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Rare Reason

Typical maturity of young Japanese women??

Wow sir, no I think that you just said a lot more about yourself, when you group a whole sex together with one nihilistic comment.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Mothers shouldn’t kill their unborn infants inside or outside the womb. If she’s guilty, then lock her up. Abortion is always and everywhere evil.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Heart breaking story.

What can be done for those with unwanted pregnancy? Is this issue tackled seriously by the government?

It seems that there is only one hospital in Japan for confidential birth, and only one baby hatch for unwanted newborns.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

I wonder who the father of the baby is He should be on trial as well

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Right. Because killing the baby inside the womb is different than killing the baby after birth. Taking a human life either way is MURDER.

Funny how it is the pro-lifers who are among the most bloodthirsty enthusiasts of the death penalty.

There is no question that this young woman made a succession of bad life choices to find herself in her predicament. Sadly, it seems that those who are determined to bury their heads in the sand are beyond help.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

If abortions were freely available as they are in most modern countries, this sad case might never have happened.

-9 ( +5 / -14 )

If abortions were freely available as they are in most modern countries, this sad case might never have happened.

Right. Because killing the baby inside the womb is different than killing the baby after birth. Taking a human life either way is MURDER.

-10 ( +5 / -15 )

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