crime

Woman held over fatal abuse of 5-year-old stepdaughter

53 Comments

A 26-year-old woman was arrested on Thursday, after allegedly hitting her husband's 5-year-old daughter, resulting in the girl's death.

Hiroko Teramoto, who lived in Sanda City in Hyogo Prefecture with her husband and his two children from his previous marriage, is accused of hitting Natsumi - her husband's 5-year-old daughter - on June 24, inflicting injuries that took a week to heal.

Staff at Natsumi's kindergarten noticed her cheek was swollen and called a local government office, who referred the case to a children's welfare center. Natsumi was taken into protective care the next day and Teramato admitted to abusing her.

Natsumi was released on July 23, however, with the welfare center citing an improvement in Teramoto's relationship with Natsumi, and had the pair come into the center three times afterwards for an interview.

Natsumi suffered a serious head injury on Nov 24, however, and was taken to hospital in an unconscious state. She died five days later from a brain hemorrhage. The hospital notified police after considering the death suspicious.

Teramoto initially said Natsumi had injured herself on the balcony but has now admitted to hitting her.

Teramoto and her husband got divorced in December, and Teramoto returned to her hometown in Akita Prefecture, where she was arrested on Thursday.

© News reports

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53 Comments
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Unforgivable sin...

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This kind of thing just makes your heart sink .... I really don't understand people like this. God rest her soul, she is free from the hell that this woman inflicted upon her.

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The mother is a monster. I want to blame the system more, but they took the girl away once and did interviews and still this happened.

Aside from jailing the witch and not letter her around kids, what can one do? I think the father should have skipped out the first time he found his little girl was being abused. I know I would have.

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She wants to beat and kill a defenseless child??.... its her turn now, give her the needle and put her down like a dog...life for life

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Woman held over fatal abuse of 5-year-old stepdaughter

Should read: Woman held over MURDER of 5-year-old stepdaughter

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wasabi - I dont think the needle is appropriate here. Too kind and painless. She should be beaten to death too.

I bet the poor girl came home, and the evil stepmother went mental about her telling the authorities what she had done.

Where was the father in all of this?

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Wow.... She was just 5 years old...sad. I cant imagine the suffering this child had to suffer. "eye for an eye, hand for a hand" should be the solution for this witch.

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"Where was the father in all of this?"

I agree ! If this happened in my house I would pack the little one off to the grandparents or day care every morning with specific instructions that the mother stay away. Unforgivable ! Now excuse me- I'm gonna go hug my daughter !

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Don't pussyfoot around. Based on what is written here, this is murder, and it should be reported as such.

Then again, the saddest thing about all this is that it is not an isolated event.

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pure trash! Throw out the garbage now!

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i am disgusted with this woman.

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The husband should have ditched her after the first abuse. And why did the cops take so long to arrest her? She killed the poor kid in November, the hospital called the cops shortly thereafter, and she has a history of abuse. Did it take the cops that long to put two and two together? She went back to her hometown for crying out loud. It's not like she was hiding in a cave somewhere. Nutter J-women everywhere. Be careful.

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ahocchau at 09:37 AM JST - 12th February

The mother is a monster.

She's not the mother.

Urgh. Absolutely disgusting. Lock her up for life.

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Teramoto and her husband got divorced in December, and Teramoto returned to her hometown in Akita Prefecture, where she was arrested on Thursday.

and this piece of japanese garbage thought that she could run away from the horrendous crime she committed?

Let's hope she gets an actual sentence and not some typical suspended sentence like most j-culprits. How typical of j-folks to murder children and walk away scott-free. let's also remember that family crimes are nothing serious in japan, mostly the murderers are viewed as poor victims "kawaisou" and so on..

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shouldn't marry with someone with a child from previous marriage UNLESS you can take the child with love.

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and why did the welfare center let this girl go home? at what point they decide that the situation is better? obviously, the abusive parent saying he/she won't do it again doesn't count... the government should REALLY make sure to put the children's safety a top priority.

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From KyokoSmile "Let's hope she gets an actual sentence and not some typical suspended sentence like most j-culprits. How typical of j-folks to murder children and walk away scott-free. let's also remember that family crimes are nothing serious in japan, mostly the murderers are viewed as poor victims "kawaisou" and so on.."

You have some facts or references to back this up?

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Death penalty.

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Dear, I've been here loooong enough, It's not like I came here yesterday. plus I watch NHK every night, and coming from a J-family myself, I have more than enough to back this up. Crimes like this would be punished to the full extent of the law back home but here well you know.. kawaiisou, shoganaine! Again, RIP little angel for the scum that did this to you will probably walk away with a suspended sentence.

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Some children are abused by their mothers and fathers.Stepmother does not make any difference. RIP little angel!!!

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HIDEOUS< a huge crime that her husband stayed with her and I can only imagine the utter horror that the birth mother is going through. But I guess in Japan usually the mom gets custody so maybe the birth mother was no peach either. May the angels fly with you little girl, special place in hell for you Hiroko Teramoto.

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I hate to put a damper on all the calls for the death penalty and for the article and the police to use the word MURDER, but under Japanese law this will most likely fall under the great (mostly women and children victim) category of "Death by indecent assault" which is Technically not murder and does not carry the same penalties!

Now I'm not 100% sure of this but as far as I can find (having wondered why these kind of people always seem to be getting off easy) this is what they are usually charged with!

I do hope I'm wrong!

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Once bitten, twice dead! However, this abuse was definitely going on a lot longer and with more regularity than stated in this article. Another case of a loopy Japanese parent exercising their civil right to smack their kids around. And yes, kids get abused everywhere, but only in Japan is it justified as punishment. Sickening!

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kill her!!!!!

do the same to this J-trash!!

RIP little girl

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Yes the act(s) was hideous. How am I any better if all I have to offer is; stone her, kill her, shoot her, inject her, etc. Surely not all of you are so daft.

Keep her alive, you stone heads and hearts. Showcase the act. Stick it in everyones face till they puke with disgust. If you were serious about doing something positive all could benefit from you would beeline to prevention instead of huff and puff about the obvious.

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And yes, kids get abused everywhere, but only in Japan is it justified as punishment

It's legal in most countries to discipline your child with reasonable force (or something along those lines.) That said... beating the bejesus out of your kid is not acceptable.

In my books, striking a child is unacceptable in any circumstances.

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sirgamble - In my books, striking a child is unacceptable in any circumstances.

The most intelligent comment in this thread. Not only is it unacceptable it is also unnecessary. What do you actually teach a kid by hitting them? It's OK to be a thug? Pathetic losers hit kids cos they have no intelligence to solve a problem in other way.

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when parents hit their kids saying it is discipline, it is NOT. They hit out of anger. If you really want to discipline, you should be a better role model and talk to your kids over and over.. kids often make the same mistakes but parenting takes much patience -- talk to your kids again if the kid makes the same mistake, and most of the times, the "mistakes" aren't real mistakes like hitting your child and kill him/her -- THAT is a mistake. The ONLY time I might hit my kids is when my kids hurts others, even then, I would NEVER not hit to kill or injure them.

This woman needs to live, and be shamed for a long time. I hope her picture will be on TV, magazines and newspaper so that everyone will know what she looks like -- she should know that she made a SERIOUS mistake and ruined HER OWN life as well.

Sigh..

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its her turn now, give her the needle

i thought execution in japan was always by hanging??

i want to know what they thought was enough of an 'improvement' in their relationship to send the little girl back home.

i feel for the father- besides the loss of his daughter, he must feel so much anger and probably guilt as well. very sad indeed.

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Whilst this individual undoubtedly deserves to rot, I'd like to take issue with the various comments about nutter J-women, J-trash, watching NHK news, and that Japanese society takes family murder lightly. The repeated singling out of the "Japaneseness" of this story is not only ridiculous, it's ignorant at best and racist at worst. It's also not borne out by any measurable FACT (something in short supply on the JT discussion boards).

Here's a fact for you:

Violent deaths of children per million children in Japan stands at around 16. This compares to about 46 in the US. OK, I hear you say, the US is a special case due to gun laws etc. That may be so, but here's another fact:

The child violent death rate in Japan is considerably lower than in Germany (around half). Same compared to England. It's also lower than in England and Holland. It's about the same as Australia and Canada.

I'm curious to know how this fits in with the views of those here who seem to think that Japanese people treat their children worse than those in other countries, or value human life less.

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Hang her with no mercy! It is said to read such stories, and people that are taking life should be served with the same treatment.

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OK things like this happen in every country but here in Japan it is rarely punished or even talked very much on news programs and even less on talk shows, it seems more important to know the best ramen shop then address any real problems!

If and when she is tried and convicted it will probably only get a passing mention in the news!

Abuse in Japan is more often mental then violent, I have been here going on 20 years and am razing my Japanese children on my own but if my J-friends and Ex-wife and in-laws are any indication of how the rest of society treat their children it no wonder that they have on of the highest juvenile suicide rates in the world!

This women was probably "just trying to set the child strait" in other words do as you are told don't buck the system and for god sake don't embarrass the family!

Japanese seem to be more worried as to what others will say about how their children are then the children them selves!

I have already heard several mothers saying that "maybe the child was a problem and refused to do things the right way, or had bad habits from the birth mother and needed to stop them"

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On, no, no. in European countries children are very protected, a parent is not allowed to use any kind of violence including a mental pressure, this unfortunately is not a case in Japan. Poor girl, RIP

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The only good part of this story is that the staff at the kindergarten did the right thing by calling the government office. No one else seemed to to care about protecting this poor child.

The father allowed the abuse to happen and the welfare center sent the girl back to her abusive step-mother after just one month!!! Like a person is going to change overnight! I can imagine their thinking--Well, we don't want to break up the family...The step-mother should have the right to be with her child...

Just one step was taken and after that, the system completely crumbled and failed this girl. Shame on the (step)mother and shame on the lack of protection of children in this country.

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ADK99-Have you checked the official figures from UNICEF recently.It's the other way round.Japan is double the amount of the UK and Germany.No sure about America,will have to check.Account in that the extended family has really only recently in general terms started to become a thing of the past,no real support system for families with problems,the economic woes many are facing and the whole 'ganbatte kudasai' mentality you have here and the figures are only the tip of the iceberg. Yes,child abuse happens everywhere but reiterating that mantra isn't going to start helping parents become the parents most of them want to be and saving lives.You can basically justify any atrocity that's ever happened on this planet by throwing out numbers,dates or places where it is happening or has happened.An innocent child was killed....even one little child meeting such a tragic and sad end is one too many,in any country in my books. RIP little one.I hope the angels are keeping you warm tonight.

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If she could not handle the kid, why not just leave? Its not like it was her own child. She could have found a man without any children, or even just live single.

Poor little mite! Only five, her real mother gone, and then get beaten to death by a nutter that daddy brought home.

I can't blame the welfare services. They are between a rock and a hard place. Can you imagine if they took the girl away from her own father, and then, 20 years later she complains? She did not know she would have been beaten to death. Nobody did. You judge as good as you can, but no one can predict the future.

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Firm but gentle was our way of raising kids. No violence, ever!

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Although I agree that welfare services are in a tough position, they are supposed to fully investigate the family and then decide if the child would be safe at home again. I just cannot believe that they can determine the character of a woman after a month. How many times did they meet her before returning the child home? Wouldn't the child have been terrified to go back to this woman? And how could the father say that everything was ok?

I think it is better to err on the side of caution. Besides, so many other government systems here are so cautious and slow. It takes forever for them to make a decision and yet when it comes to the safety of a child, they are able to make this kind of swift judgment?

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Dolphingirl, I completely agree with everything you said. Just one thing I would like to add...

The state of children's care in this country is appauling. Mainly because they have very few people who are willing to foster or adopt, and very few orphanages or children's live in care. Perhaps this was a factor in deciding to return her to her family.

Also most probably she WANTED to go back - I doubt you could find any 5 year old who wouldn't wish to be back with her family.

But this is just so awful, that poor, poor little girl. As a parent myself, I just cannot comprehend how someone can do that to an innocent child.

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Not only is it unacceptable it is also unnecessary. What do you actually teach a kid by hitting them? It's OK to be a thug? Pathetic losers hit kids cos they have no intelligence to solve a problem in other way.

Wrong. There is a difference between hitting, and short, sharp (but not hard) smack to the wrist. If your 5 year old child reaches throws tennis balls at a boiling hot saucepan on a kitchen stove, what are you going to do? Have a quick reason with them over milk, cookies and a cuddle?

Good grief.

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If your 5 year old child reaches throws tennis balls at a boiling hot saucepan on a kitchen stove, what are you going to do? Have a quick reason with them over milk, cookies and a cuddle?

Remove the tennis balls and the kid from the kitchen immediately. No need for milk and cookies, but a good talking to accompanied by cuddles can work wonders.

Then again, inquiring minds would want to know how come the child hasn't already been taught that chucking tennis balls around in a kitchen (even without boiling hot saucepans on the stove) is simply Not Done.

Poor parenting, compounded by violence. Recipe for disaster.

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I think this woman deserves quite a punishment (up to life), but some of you barbarians suggesting torturous activities or a hanging need a psych eval. Welcome to the 21 century in a civilized country.

Btw, fatal abuse and murder are two different things in court, no matter how you feel about it. Because the intentions are different, death from abuse will likely have a lesser sentence, unless the woman shows no remorse.

And finally, don't forget that not hitting a child as punishment, to a much lesser degree, has only been applied relatively very recently. While it may not be the best way, it is an effective punishment and has worked from about 20 years ago to the beginning of man. I am certain most of your parents were brought up in this manner. I am also certain that most of your parents grew to be respectable people who appreciate their parent's efforts.

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And finally, don't forget that not hitting a child as punishment, to a much lesser degree, has only been applied relatively very recently. While it may not be the best way, it is an effective punishment and has worked from about 20 years ago to the beginning of man. I am certain most of your parents were brought up in this manner. I am also certain that most of your parents grew to be respectable people who appreciate their parent's efforts.

Agreed 100%. This 'no-hit' disciplining is a relatively new invention, and I don't understand why people here think the old ways are obsolete or less effective. It's like them telling their grandparents or their great-grandparents (if they're still alive) they failed in raising their children properly.

RIP little angel. I'm sure you're in a much, much better place now.

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Remove the tennis balls and the kid from the kitchen immediately. No need for milk and cookies, but a good talking to accompanied by cuddles can work wonders. Then again, inquiring minds would want to know how come the child hasn't already been taught that chucking tennis balls around in a kitchen (even without boiling hot saucepans on the stove) is simply Not Done.

Because, believe it or not, kids misbehave and do stupid things and can be obnoxious. If your response is "kids should be in an environment where they can't be obnoxious or misbehave" then I'll give up at this point.

Like I have emphaises and believe, only for extreme cases. I'm talking about the rare smack here, not pounding some infant in the head with a baseball bat.

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ADK99.

Not sure about your numbers but then I don’t really care, everything else you wrote was spot on. Your attempt at making comparisons may have left you open to attack but pointing out that this crime is not a Japanese crime was what really mattered and should have been seen as that. Not knit picked. This is a horrible crime and would be wherever it happened, but turning it into a race issue is seriously out of order. There are good parents and happy safe children in Japan, the very fact that this crime is in the news shows that it is an exception, because if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be news. If this crime affects you to the point that you feel the need to write your feelings here we can all understand that, if however you feel the need to add in the word “Japanese” then I simply have to reason you have a problem with the people of the country and that has nothing to do with this poor girls death. Don’t use this tragic situation as an excuse to vent your racist bile on to our computer monitors, please.

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dolphingirl wrote- How many times did they meet her before returning the child home?

Read the article and find out. This all started with a bruised cheek that took only a week to heal. For that the girl was in protective custody for a month, which is an eternity for a child and long enough for the slowest person to make a decision. All that is the definition of erring on the side of caution. I had all sorts of bruises as a kid. Some were caused by my step-father. But I am glad I did not grow up in an orphanage thank you very much.

Of course, you can use 20/20 hindsight all day to make it look like enough was not done. There will always be room for complaining where perfection is not present. But at least you could read the article, don't you think?

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genjuro wrote: Agreed 100%. This 'no-hit' disciplining is a relatively new invention,

And it requires more brains, time and patience than most people have unfortunately, and even then, I have my doubts that it will work for all kids. But its rather pointless to discuss here because this child slayer obvious did not have the brains or patience even to use the old methods properly.

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ADK99, I don't think people are focusing on the numbers, I think what people mean by in terms of japaneseness is why/motives for it happening, how it is dealt with by authorities and how it is viewed by the rest of the Japanese society. Those are not necessarily measured by numbers but based upon behavior and not every behavior can be put into numbers. For example Americans are said to be one of the most direct societies in the world, but how do you put that into numbers, how do you measure that? A lot of those types of claims are based upon observation.

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If your response is "kids should be in an environment where they can't be obnoxious or misbehave" then I'll give up at this point.

Better give up then. Creating a safe, nurturing environment for kids is hard work, and as dearjohn points out, requires time, patience and a modicum of brain power. Much easier to give up, wait till the kid starts being obnoxious then clobber him. Works every time. Of course, as the kid gets used to the clobbering you're going to have to up the ante to produce the same effect. A slap with the flat of the hand will only take you so far. Try a rolling pin, cricket bat, frying pan. But never a boiling hot saucepan, you might have to redecorate the kitchen and that would be a bind.

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I have a 5 year old little girl. I can`t imagine raising a hand to her, ever, no matter what she did (the only exception being the one time I slapped her hand away as she reached for the hot stove and then I sat her down and explained afterwards). I was more upset than she was!

I have heard that the UK now has a zero-tolerance policy on physical discipline. But I think the whole world has gone mad when people can`T see the difference between a slap on the hand and a pummelling on the face bad enough to cause a brain haemorrhage.

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I have no words for this... this is simply sad!

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i feel sorry but i just dint know what to say. its hust that horrible

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This is such a terrible tragedy that I'm not going to question the motives of the girl's father for marrying such a woman.

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