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1-year-old boy falls to death from 5th-story Tokyo apartment

55 Comments

A 1-year-old boy fell from his family's 5th story apartment into the parking lot below in Setagaya Ward on Wednesday. The boy was rushed to hospital but died soon after arrival.

According to police, the baby boy, Masato Anda, was playing with his two 4-year-old sisters at around 4:40 p.m. There was a railing in front of an open window, but a desk had been placed nearby. Police suspect Masato climbed up, then accidentally fell over the railing.

The three children were alone in the apartment at the time, and the incident occurred while Masato's mother had gone out for about 10 minutes. A neighbor spotted the fallen boy and called police.

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I've said this so many times on Japan Today, but I'll say it again: some (notice I said some, not all) parents in Japan treat their young children as no more than pets. Children this young should never be left alone anywhere. Yes, I feel sorry for the mother, but once again a child's life is lost because of poor parenting.

And please, don't anyone scold me by saying I'm heartless or that similar accidents happen overseas. I know they do, but that's not the point. I'm talking about Japan and what I've seen through living here for 25 years.

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some (notice I said some, not all) parents in Japan treat their young children as no more than pets.

I disagree. I think they ALL treat their children like a fashion accessory.

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Yeah, pets get taken for walks and pampered. Kids just get left at home while the parent goes to pachinko. Two 4 year olds at home alone with a one year old. This idiot is gonna have the rest of her life to reflect on this little mistake. "If only I had......."

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Yes, daft Mum but still a tragedy

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This idiot is gonna have the rest of her life to reflect on this little mistake.

they didn't care that much about him when he was alive, what makes you think they'll care much more now that's he's gone?

Moderator: Readers, please do not post inflammatory remarks.

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my post was intended to be rhetorical, not baiting

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I disagree. I think they ALL treat their children like a fashion accessory.

neverknow2: Would you say that to my face if you weren't sitting at your computer?... I hope you would, because I'd knock that opinion right out of your silly little noggin. I'm a parent in Japan and I DO NOT treat my child as a fashion accessory.

More young Japanese parents need to be educated about the "accidents at home" statistic that westerners have been told.

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More young Japanese parents need to be educated about the "accidents at home" statistic that westerners have been told.

i definitely agree with this. i think even western parents need to be reminded of this constantly. all the media attention on pedophiles and child abductions but the truth is the kitchen is most dangerous place children ever go

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how did a 1yr old get up onto a desk? my 1yr old can hardly even get onto a bed let alone a desk. did the sisters it him up there or were steps left conviently close... I disagree that all parents are bad, but many do treat their kids as accessories... and yes ill say that to anyones face.

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I disagree. I think they ALL treat their children like a fashion accessory.

tell that to my wife and she'll rip you a new one

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Tragic.

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how did a 1yr old get up onto a desk? my 1yr old can hardly even get onto a bed let alone a desk.

they develop at different paces - my boy was running by 11 months and climbing all over the place. Needless to say he was not left alone in the house - ever.

So sad but I hope other parents learn from this - it should be hideline stories on the TV and newspapers to help others

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Yeah. How many people know someone or know of someone who managed to pull boiling water onto themselves as a child? I think my partner's parent did that once and got hot water in the ear, losing hearing for life.

I'm super careful in my kitchen even as an adult. If only Mum had closed the doors before she went out... Not that she should have gone at all.

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i'm not a parent, but imagine "child-proofing" a house (but without turning it into a padded cell) must be a challenge.

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Absolutely horrible. Leaving a one year old child without adequate care for any amount of time is tantamount to child abuse in my book. But singling this out as a uniquely Japanese problem is indicative of incredible naivety and lack of substantial life experience.

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Sad story, very sad story.

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"child-proofing" a house (but without turning it into a padded cell)

What's wrong with turning your house into a padded cell? As this story shows, you cannot be too careful when you have kids around. A very tragic and completely avoidable incident (not an accident).

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The three monkeys: hear no evil, see no evil, say no evil. There is so much danger overlooked in Japan. Goes in one ear and out the other. It is a beautiful country and culture. I feel so badly for the whole family. How could one ever get over this.

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The problem with turning your house into a padded cell is that the kid will never get any boo-boos indoors, but then going out into the big bad world, they'll suddenly have to learn the common sense that comes from making errors.

Have you seen those parents that float behind their children , about two feet away, ready to catch them should they fall? Awwwwwwwkwarrrd

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Why is this so regular in Japan ?

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it seems to me that a huge part of being a child is learning the physical limits of your own body. it does, after all, vary somewhat from person to person. kids are always sustaining injuries, it goes with the territory. trying to wrap them in cotton is only going to disadvantage them in the long run.

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worst accident i had at home when i was a kid was a high-speed contact with a door frame. foolish, but kids love to run and door frames are a pretty unavoidable feature of a house. needless to say i learnt my lesson and never ran indoors again

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Parents fault, kids are not pets!

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Why is this so regular in Japan ?

Potsu: do you mean accidents in the home? or accidents involving kids falling from apartment buildings?

I guess either way, accidents in the home are the parents responsibility (whether they are more prevalent in Japan than in other countries is a question). I guess we have to keep in mind too, that there are an unbelievable number of apartment buildings or "mansions" (condos) in Japan due to lack of space, which is all the more reason why we should be even more careful.

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Mendacious.

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Parents fault no less. The mother should have NEVER left two children at that age unattended for any amount of time.

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I would say this happens in Japan more than in most of our home countries because more people here live in multi-story buildings, for goodness sake- isn't that obvious? It's extremely rare in my home country but that's because families who live in high rises are also extremely rare, not because people there are far more skilled parents than people in Japan.

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Leaving a 1 year old in the house alone is a strange thing to do, I'm guessing something very important/dangerous was happening elsewere. I feel sorry for the parents.

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Didn't Eric Clapton lose a child like this?

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i don't actually believe this is any more common in japan than anywhere else. mundane but fatal accidents in the home happen everywhere, everyday. the only matter of question is how often they are reported in the national news

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Oh my gosh, this is terrible. I'm guessing the mother didn't even have a neighbor she could ask to come over for 10 minutes? What a tragedy.

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Stupid mother! How in the hell could she leave her kids alone? Really smart too! Leaving a desk or any other object near her apartment's veranda? Just a horrible accident waiting to happen! I hope their is a criminal investigation against this woman for negligence. I have small children and I would be very, very angry with my wife (J) if she ever let our kids be alone, with out our super vision, kids do not know anybetter, and we the adults are 100% or 150% responsible for their safety!!! RIP little baby boy in Setagaya.

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There needs to be public service announcements or something like it to warn parents about what appear to obvious (to the rest of us) risks to the welfare of children. As a teacher and parent I see other parents ignoring obvious danger regularly.

Those that idolize Japan will claim there is no problem or no more of a problem than in other countries. It IS a major problem and comparisons are immaterial.

<<< SiouxGirl "I'm guessing the mother didn't even have a neighbor she could ask to come over for 10 minutes? " -- You don't understand how Japanese people live and interact, not even remotely.

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RIP little one, realy just 10 minutes away?

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I'm wondering about the reason, she left for 10 minutes... Anyway, as a Mother, it's stupid leaving kids alone at home. And I know, many do like this...

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I don't buy the "10 minute" thing either. But I agree with the lack of information on accidents here.

My in laws are constantly upset with me becaue I refuse to let my 2 go and stay alone with them. they live in a 4 storey house, with concrete stairs and no barriers - there are railings but wide enough for achild to squeeze between them.

As they rightly point out she riased 4 kids in that apartment, but then she was in her 20's, now she is nearly 70, and all 4 of them have permanent scars where they have all fallen down the stairs at one point.

They think I am paranoid. I think theya re reckless. We are never going to see eye to eye on this one.

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# SiouxGirl at 01:33 PM JST - 4th June Oh my gosh, this is terrible. I'm guessing the mother didn't even have a neighbor >she could ask to come over for 10 minutes? What a tragedy.

Not in Japan, most people avoid neighbors, and live their own separate lives.

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Poor kid, and poor sisters having to remember the loss of their baby brother for the rest of their lives. Stupid woman, she had no business leaving the flat for more than 2 minutes to pop down to the mailbox, and even then she should have taken the baby with her unless he was safely asleep in his cot. The 4 year olds on their own would have been risky, but a 1 year old as well? Plain neglectful. I hate to say it but I won't be surprised if she's another mother who was at the pachinko parlor leaving her kids to take care of themselves. It does happen too often with young parents here. And I'm one who normally sticks up for the parents against all the haters on here, but in cases of neglect I make an exception.

With regards to all the comments about whether it's more or less prevalent here than 'back home', I think the most common cause of accidental kids' death in the UK (just going by headlines, not meaningful or accurate,) is a tv falling on them. Most kids end up with a broken leg, but an awful lot die from their injuries and yet so many parents have unsecured tvs lurking about their homes, even in the tot's rooms, even on fairly high cupboards. (That's supposed to keep it a bit out of the kid's reach, but actually when the kid climbs on the cupboard it just gives the tv further to fall and allows it to cause even more damage if it hits the child. The cupboard usually isn't secured either.)

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This is so sad, but parents often go out and leave their kids alone....it's terrible

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Nothing new in Japan. Parents in this country have the IQ of roadkill. I have seen people DRIVING with new born babies on their LAPs. They have a crash and that baby will be turned to mince by the airbags and most likely kill that stupid parent at the same time!... The Government does NOTHING to stop STUPID PARENTS (Most Japanese) like making stronger fines or jail terms because the Government does not want to upset people because they will be voted out! ... The stuff the Japanese get away with here in Japan would never happen in OZ, 90% of the Stupid Parents in Japan would have lost their children to family services.

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Not in Japan, most people avoid neighbors, and live their own separate lives.

that's not true. plenty of people have intimate relationships with their neighbours. but that's also the problem; entering into a "friendship" in japan is like signing a social contract with a lot of obligations and expectations. that's fine for a family living in the countryside, surrounded by the same neighbours for generations (the whole practice is medieval in origin...) but for those living in the city it's frankly not worth the effort and investment to establish relationships with their neighbours

sad, really. but that's what you get when you prioritise preserving traditions at all costs over allowing society mores to move with the times

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The mother should have not left the 1 year old and his sisters alone in the apartment. What a horrific way to die - poor little Japanese boy. Farakh Malik

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chalk up another one: Appalling parenting resulting in a childs death. (shakes head)

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We used to have a 3 LDK on the 7th floor with a wrap around balcony. We lived there until my son was 1 and a half. That balcony scared the hell out of me even though the rail was solid concrete. He would climb up on chairs and such which would mean falling over the edge wouldn't be a strctch. We moved to my wife's grandmother's house when she passed away. 1 story no access by car and I sleep much better at night. A tragic story to be sure may this boy rest in peace and his parents find a way to get through this tragedy.

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For those with kids, passing judgement upon this event is very difficult if not impossible. All that can be offered is Complete & utter Sympathy. If you're fortunate enough to be able to afford to have a wife/husband who can stay at home to look after the kids whilst the other works, then you should understand why they are so exhausted at the end of the day upon your return.... Give it a go yourself.

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@kirakira25

They think I am paranoid. I think theya re reckless. We are never going to see eye to eye on this one.

I have an almost identical situation and I'll never give in. It only takes one second for something to happen that could effect the entire family forever. Let them suppose you are paranoid. Its much better than you having to verify their recklessness through a tragic accident.

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No parental supervision = home alone! Parents you have to live with this for the rest of your lives. I feel sorry for you. Rip little one.

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There was a railing in front of an open window, but a desk had been placed nearby.

How big was a desk, and why was a 12 month-old baby staying right close to an open window leading to a patio on the 5th floor?

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I don't know why so many commenters are mentioning a veranda or balcony, when none was stated in the article. In my "mansion", the bedroom windows open to a 10-story drop. There are just two flimsy little aluminum rails at the bottom of the window, but those couldn't stop a person from falling out. It's very easy for me to imagine a kid climbing (or in this case being helped by older siblings) onto a desk in the room and going out the window.

That being said, there's absolutely no excuse for having the desk there in the first place. I used to have my bed under the window, but as soon as my child hit the climbing toddler phase, I moved the bed so there would no longer be easy access to the window. Now that he's older, the bed can go back to its original place.

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Ah, I'm not sure the rails are sturdy or not, but I suspect there's probably not enough space in the patio to keep a baby from falling off from an entire apartment. In this case, his siblings are not helpful because they are also toddlers. Anyway, the small kids-- especially babies and toddlers-- need an assistance from an adult, when you see them climbing up or standing on a desk or a tables, to keep them from getting injured by falling off on the floor.

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I mean 'a table.' My bad.

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@Blackops: Hooray, hooray - Self Appreciation!

You are generalizing in an inappropiate way. How many "japanese" parents do you know? I would say zero. You rant about how great it is in some sandbox island in the middle of nowhere and how nice and strict you like it there. Howcome anglos like you are so filled with resentment towards the country you live in? Japanese parent are no worse (or better) than the fine examples of OZ...

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Accidents such as these happen all over the world. But it happens more often here. Everyone who is living here in this country is expressing their feelings and there is nothing wrong with that. why do you scream westerners and easterners? Why do you segregate yourselves from the others? Many who are sitting in front of the computer and saying these things, I am sure say it to the people to their face.It makes the Jpeople aware of the problem that they simply do not notice in their rush to meet life's obligations. I must admit that many consider their children as an accessory and frankly, I've heard it being said. If you did not say it then good, but take into consideration that there are others who do not think like you do.

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This should be listed in the crime section and the parent that left them should be shot. Or, at least go to jail until they get shot by someone on the inside who hates these selfish, negligent parents as much as I do.

No excuse.

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mmwk2008 at 12:56 AM JST - 5th June "For those with kids, passing judgement upon this event is very difficult if not impossible. All that can be offered is Complete & utter Sympathy. If you're fortunate enough to be able to afford to have a wife/husband who can stay at home to look after the kids whilst the other works, then you should understand why they are so exhausted at the end of the day upon your return.... Give it a go yourself."

Weak and feeble excuse for being lazy and negligent. Grow up. You are a parent, act like one and do your duty and responsibility to protect the innocent kids.

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