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2-yr-old boy drowns in drain while parents are in comic cafe

75 Comments

A 2-year-old boy apparently drowned in a drain along a street in Osaki City, Miyazaki Prefecture, on Sunday afternoon, while his parents were in a comic cafe, police said Monday.

Riku Endo, 2, was found drowned in the drain by his parents around 3:20 p.m. after they lost sight of him while they were in the comic cafe. Police said the family came to the game center where the cafe is located and believe Riku wandered off while his parents were reading comics in the cafe. Riku is believed to have accidentally fallen into the 70cm-wide and 55cm-deep drain. He was taken to hospital but died about two hours later.

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How do parents "loose sight" of a 2 year-old? At a minimum, book them (no pun intended) with abandonment of a child (resulting in death).

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They "lose sight" by not paying attention. It happens with silly parents all over the world. The really offensive word I wanted to use has been substituted with "silly".

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I have a two year old. They are like lightening. when they spot something that looks interesting, they are off so one should always be vigilant. Even yesterday at the zoo. I especially never took my eyes off him but a girl who must have been about 7 was straddling the the fence to the mountain goat enclosure with both legs pointing down towards a 10 meter drop. I didn't bother looking for her parents. I just grabbed her off the fence, then looked around for a hysterical parent who may have taken exception to my action and was ready to argue my case but didn't see one. there was no supervision. 3 siblings aged between 4-8 with no adult supervision in a zoo. how pathetic is that!

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Another rousing testament to the awe-inspiring parenting skills of young people in Japan these days.

You hear it time and time again from apologists who claim that Japan is no different from other countries, but the proof can be seen virtually anywhere one goes. Kids are given free reign to do as they like and parents are unable or unwilling to do any parenting, which includes, gasp!, supervising your children.

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They`ll probably receive compensation for the "unsafe" drain.

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God forbid this narcissistic couple should pry their eyes away from their precious manga while their 2 year old child DROWNS TO DEATH only feet away! This is absolutely disgusting! They have no business being parents ToT

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Since japanese people don't talk about how to take care of their kids between them I think Japan must find a way to educate people of how to take care of their kids. School, Educational Video, something?

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what is a comic cafe?

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It's kind of like a library with an entrance fee, a menu, and lower quality reading material.

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Now they'll have plenty of time to read their comics

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People like this should be castrated to avoid having kids. That way, they can live in their manga pathetic world completely void of 'RESPONSIBLE PARENTING'! Idiots!

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God forbid this narcissistic couple should pry their eyes away from their precious manga while their 2 year old child DROWNS TO DEATH only feet away! This is absolutely disgusting! They have no business being parents

QFT

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These parents will not be inline for the 'parent of the year' award. I do feel a tad sorry them, but mostly for the little boy who now has no future. Two year olds are like lightening, which is even more reason to keep a constant vigil watching them. Just because anybody can have kids doesn't mean everybody should!

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where are the usual apologists? it is the parents fault, full stop.

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I understand that 2 yr. olds are like lightening. That is why I am in full support of those controversial springy leashes they have for kids. Sorry folks, but if you're going to go shopping with your kids and perusing books stores, strap your kiddo in a halter and hold on to that leash for heavenssakes!

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what is a comic cafe?

It`s where parents go to act out their comedy parenting skills..

Unbelievable!! It`s as if they wanted him to wonder off..

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my wife bought a child leash and I burned it. I said simply "be alert and watch him. no need to resort to lazy parenting." a leash...how demeaning. those are for dogs and kinky politicians. if you wana do your shopping, get a babysitter otherwise parenting is a full time responsibility and requires a certain amount of self sacrifice. Obviously these two culprits were not up to the job.

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I have to say though, J-Kids are much better behaved, through my experiences compared to western kids. Obviously this story shows there is still a few flaws. Never seen a J-Kid screaming in a supermarket. Or is that just me??

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A manga kissa is essentially a library of comic books where they happen to serve coffee and soft drinks (and usually food). Reading comic books is of course a national pastime for adults. But that is another story.

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Actually Manga-Kissa has nothing to do with a library at all.

A Kissa(Kissaten) is a coffee-shop. A Manga-kissa also has a selection of Manga that you can read after having bought food and drink.

Buying Food and Drink pays for your time there to being allowed to read their books. A lot of Manga-Kissa now also offer Internet access(i.e. Internet cafe), etc.

A lot of the Manga-Kisaa are open 24hrs so a great place to wait for the 1st train in the morning.

HTH.

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Screaming kids in supermarkets? See it all the time. Kids playing "oni-goko" in supermarkets? All the time. Kids running through supermarket parking lots while the parents tag along unconcerned? All the time.

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it begs the question "what kind of drain was this and why was it opened?"

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Sounds like one of the storm-drains/ditches that often run alongside roads and walking streets.

In many areas they are covered concrete slabs in others they are left open.

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Yeah, by the description in the article it is a standard drain that appear all over Japan and most are uncovered. I've always wondered what legal grounds I would have if I or one of my kids fell into one of these causing injury. Could the local council be sued for neglect?

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The following report by ANN News contains scenes of the 'yosuido' drain...

http://www.tv-asahi.co.jp/ann/news/web/soci_news13.html?now=20080602171225_300k

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I feel bad for the parents, and a little anger at all the negative attitude here. This story doesn't strike me as being nearly as bad as parents leaving their kids to die in a sweltering car while they played pachinko. This seems like a simple laps in attention.

Need I remind people that large numbers of children of the same age die in similar accidents while the parents were at home? And not just in Japan. How many news reports have there been of kids of around the same age dying in the family pool or on a busy street because no one realized that 2 year olds know how to open doors and gates but don't know how to avoid danger?

Show some compassion. The parents are already beating themselves and each other up over this. Just last month, a family in Canada left their 2 year old in the Vancouver airport while they flew to Winnipeg because each thought the other spouse was taking care of the tyke when they were separated. It could be the same here.

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Everyones quick to judge, but this story just doesnt have enough info. The boy could have easily run away from the parents in a split second bolted out the door, jumped in the drain and drowned within a minute. Meanwhile the parents were probably frantically running around the cafe searching for him.

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just another pair of idiot parents. i think they were probably reading their comics, smoking and drinking coffee. ive seen it a million times. as a parent myself - i know that you dont take your eyes off of a 2 year old.

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USAkuma

Yeah couldn't agree more. I don't know how many times my son scampered off while I was shopping. One 5 second lap would do it. Once we lost him for 2 minutes and that was the worst moment of my life. Fortunately he has grown out of that behaviour.

I really feel for the parents, but for the grace of God...

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well for all those useless parents posting here, trying to justify their own lack of parenting skills by stating that an accident occurred by way of a momentary lapse should be reminded that that is all it takes and you should have known better at the time but you got lucky because your kid was smart enough not to obliterate itself. You know what I am saying Urko?

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It's funny you see so many accidents like this because most of the Japanese parents I know pamper there kids to an almost annoying point. I find it hard to have a conversation with some people who are totally engrossed in whatever it is their kids are doing. Or maybe that's just my world...

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romulus3 Have you never heard the expression "pride comes before a fall"? You seem to me to be a very dangerous parent, so arrogant and full of your own perfect abilities. You have no idea exactly what happened, as USAkuma said it may well be a case that each parent thought the child was safe with the other. Tragic accidents happen all the time and while most are preventable with hindsight, in the real world you, and this includes romulus3, can not cover for every possibility.

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Romulus you poo-hoo the 'demeaning' use of a leash for a child - have you ever tried keeping track of (for example) a young but active autistic autistic child on a busy street, at a dangerous beach, anywhere? And don't answer 'don't take that child somewhere risky' because that is far more demeaning/damaging to a child. Sometimes safer is far better than sorry -and it can be harder than you might think to watch and protect kids every second. I feel sorry for your wife because it looks like a child guide was considered by her (probably for a reason)- sounds like you leave the child watching/rearing to her whilst judging everyone else for their poor parenting skills.

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wow, this was like the pachinko deaths a few years ago. child neglect, plain and simple, this is everywhere, not just here

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I don't know really why the "while his parents are in comic cafe" is needed.

Is "while his parents are at work" better? "while his parents are at home"?

This is just the typical JT attempt to get the "Japanese parents suck" bashing going.

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Our kid is sooooo genki and free to do what he likes because we are watching him every second, even when he sleeps. romulus often wakes up in the dead of night and plants his ear on his childs chest just to hear the heart and breathing. romulus and his wife have eagle eyes, quick reactions and undying devotion for their son. we do attempt to control our son by a leash. if he runs and falls and hurts himself, so be it, if he climbs a slide and slips and falls, one of us is there to catch him. In a public environment our son is connected to us by his hand, not by a leash. we took the time to explain to him why he must be connected to us by hand in public environments. our son is incredible. we worship him and do not slack off with distractions when his life and well being is at stake. we are a well schooled family. those of you who need leashes and often put you kids at risk are just self serving lazy parents. Pride comes before a fall....no, lax parenting comes before a child's fall.

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patrick,patrick PATRICK, its the same as the PACHINKO, NEGLECT, plain and simple, remember, they were in a friggin manga kisa, same thing without the noisy ball, beside, ive been to some manga kisa and they have kid comics there, why on earth didnt they took they child in there a read him a book? I know its not your average public library. BUT at least he would have been NEXT to them as a 2 yrs old is supoosed be.

Your mom would spank you for saying what you said, there is NO justification for their actions. PERIOD

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the key word is devotion. if you are fully devoted to your kid, and share the responsibility and weight, stay connected to your child and talk to them as mature adults by way of reason, and never turn your back on them, your kid will be safe. but if you take things for granted, take your selfish time when you should be watching, listening, in awe of your growing child, then a controllable disaster may befall your little one. this does not include freak accidents. Just controllable deaths like the article states.

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Damax6.

100% correct

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I feel bad for the parents, and a little anger at all the negative attitude here. This story doesn't strike me as being nearly as bad as parents leaving their kids to die in a sweltering car while they played pachinko. Unfortunately, these are just the type of parents who are likely to leave their kids in a sweltering car while playing pachiko. The only difference is the time frame - it ain't July or August yet.....

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clearly these accidents are because of a lack of devotion. This is not a hack at J parents because my kid has an awesome mother. This is a hack at sub standard lazy parents who are so pathetic that they need a leash to control their child because their child does not respect them enough to listen to advice and believe me, a 2 year old knows the deal. just because you do not have the necessary devotion to be a great parent does not give you the right to criticize those of us who are brilliant at our roles. These tragedies are 100% preventable. we all worry about freak accidents. why should parental neglect be an issue when your child may meet peril by just being an adventurous kid. Its a disgusting excuse to cover ones to ones lack of energy, devotion, skill, and temperament for doing the job well.

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romulus3, nothing but holier than thou ranting. The same thing could happen to your child just as easy, no matter how much you smother them. Your comments are unrealistic and naive. You remind me of ned flanders. Like I mentioned before, who are you to judge these parents, you dont even know the true details.

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I bet the parents are not trying to cover their actions now. I bet they wish they were more diligent. DO NOT EVER say noting about me as a parent. I am a DEVOTED father as is my wife a triple DEVOTED mother. NEVER say nothing about my family.NEVER. we gibe 1,000,000% attention to our kid. We pray that no accident happens and are incredibly focused on making sure that our child does not dies a preventable death like the one detailed in the article. To hell with those who doubt our ability, devotion and effectiveness.

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himasan what in the hell is wrong with being a damn good, proud, parent and why would you find negativity in that? you have issues.

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define gross neglect as opposed to neglect, boil it all down and what remains...friggin neglect....do you know here that babies are making babies, yes we have that in the states too, whereas here the stigma is enormous. Japanese girls 16,(like the girl who drownned with her 6 MONTH OLD!!!) 17, who don`t have a cluw on parenting, even their mothers shun them , this i know becuase i have 2 neighbors in that situation. they were "Yankee", O smash ..do you know what this word means here in japan and what group of people it is attached to???. it is not us gaijins for sure. Many "Yankees" make babies when they still want play around(why not , they are STILL KIDS, when the concieved), then the babies they have become "jama" , then it begions with kicks, punches, then feeding uncooked rice with mayo, then whooops...baby is dead....so stop with the MISTAKE!!!!, yes a mistake was done...two dumbass kids had a baby that they were ill prepared to have a raise..its called stupidity and NEGLECT... PERIOD!!!.NEXT QUESTION PLEASE.

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oooo BTW, i need not to explain my parnet skills, my kids are fine thank you

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Damax6,

YES!

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so patty smash you are talking about freak accidents, I am referring to the parental negligent accident as detailed in the article. not normal everyday child activity. no one is bullet proof from that. Just the negligent thing...the thing that could be prevented...the thing that happened to the baby in the article above...the thing that could have been prevented if the parents were more vigilant..you know, the topic...

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oh patty,

you just leap on how bad the local parents are

you did not read my post at all.

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Whoa! Slow down here! Since when did this become a personal bash fest on individual readers. Why hasn't the Moderator stepped in to tell everyone to get civil?

Romulus3: Congratulations on your parenting. I wish you and your family all the best. By the way, do you know the acronym E.S.I.D.? Every situation is different. I find it fits in most parenting situations. That's all I want to say. Peace.

Damax6: I think you are reading a little too much into this story. If you have more facts about this story, please share the links with us. I understand your being irate about kids having kids. It makes me shake my head in disgust as well, but Japan Times has not given ANY details about the parents, so assuming they are "yamama" and "Yankee" parents just because this happened at a manga cafe is a little over the top for a leap of faith. If JT posts their ages, and it turns out they were as you claim, I'll join you in holy anger. But I think we should wait until we learn more.

Patrick Smash: I totally understand and agree with your posts about parenting in general. I have a little 1 year old girl. I worry about her future and any possible mistakes I might make as well. glad your son is OK.

I will be traveling with my family soon, and so in my mind I keep thinking about that family in Canada. Each parent thinking the other had their kid with them and being seated separately on the plane so they didn't realize what happened until they were already airborne. Its giving me nightmares. And so does this news story. But I can't let nightmares or anger at what other parents do or say keep me and my family from living our lives the best that we can.

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Yeah, kids will be kids. It is unfortunate this poor little boy is dead and it is a little unfair to place all the blame directly onto poor parenting, however, if they were conscientious parents they would not have been in a comic cafe in the first place. They would have been at the park watching him learn and grow. Sad!

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"so patty smash you are talking about freak accidents"

I would consider, personally, a boy drowning in a drain a freak accident, yes. After all, it doesn't happen every day... and I agree with Patrick Smash - unless you know the full details, you shouldn't put %100 of the blame on the parents. After all, as far as you know they had been shopping as a family and had stopped in the cafe for a cup of cofee and a snack (which my parents have done plently of times) and the boy had slipped away or went to the toilet. It happens. People often lose sight of children in shopping centers (that's why we have lost and found, after all) but the majority of the time the children are found quickly. And if the parents found the body, they obviously went looking for him- which doesn't sound like neglect to me.

But hey, that's just my opinion. :)

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romulus3- you`re scoffing at anyone who shows sympathy to these parents, who as far as we know lost a child in a freak accident, just so you can climb upon your high horse. I think you have the issues.

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Back to the leash thing: which is better, demeaning or dead?

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wow lots of banter here!

This case is pretty cut & dry imo, the ONLY aceptable excuse for this family to be in a manga cafe is if they went in to read TO their kid, clearly they were there for their own reading pleasure, therefore this is very clearly a case of parental neglect, same as all the infamous panchinko deaths that will sadly no doubt be happening again now that its warming up.

This was not a freak accident, it was neglect point blank, parents lack of doing their jobs caused this death!

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R.I.P 2yr old Riku Endo

I agree with many of the post and disagree with many of the comments made to very legitamate agrguements. @2yrs of age, he should have been held by has hand, there is no need for a leash (animals uses leashes). I will wait for more information before I join in on commenting on if baby's are having baby's and pachinko incident. But if you all may recall, a small boy at the age of 3-5 was struck by a train while his mother was in a nail salon getting her nails done. Most of the post here stem from an earlier topic on parenting style in japan. I don't blaim this on japan parenting/us/uk/ whatever, parenting is a 24/7/365 day job. Its like Romulus3 put it "clearly these accidents are because of a lack of devotion." plain and simple.

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Back to the leash thing: which is better, demeaning or dead?

I used a leash and harness with both my kids - they were both incredible escape artists, and just holding hands was not enough to keep them safe.

The MIL thought it was demeaning, until she had them to look after for a few days. She ended up telling her friends what a good invention baby harnesses were.

It's my opinion devoted fathers who refuse to let their wives use a harness with the kids are doing their wives and kids a gross disservice. Mum is with the kids all day, she knows what's needed. Let her get on with it in her own way, I say.

If poor little Riku-kun had been on a leash, this thread would not exist and none of us would be writing about the pros and cons of different parenting aids.

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I agree with TheguyNextdoor. At 2 years old the child should have been watched the whole time. The child should have been with the parent. I hope this story makes other more aware of how quickly things go wrong and that children should be monitored closer.

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This is so sad

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I don't know why people are so opposed to the kid leash. I mean, it's not an actual leash for pets, it is made with a halter/jacket type thing for the kid to wear. It's just a safety measure---like a seat belt in a car. Now, are seat belts demeaning? Of anything it gives the tyke some room to walk independently but prevents him/her from running away and falling into a ditch or whatever.

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I have also used a Harnes/Leash with my son. But we lived in kichijoji and the area gets crowded on the weekends and lots of traffic too.

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This case is pretty cut & dry imo, the ONLY aceptable excuse for this family to be in a manga cafe is if they went in to read TO their kid, clearly they were there for their own reading pleasure, therefore this is very clearly a case of parental neglect,

GW, I am sorry but when I decided to have kids no one told me that I had to give up any and all personal time and devote 24 hours a day to them. I take my kids to the library, stick them in the kids corner with a few pop up books and then go and find some books to read. Keeping one eye on them. Is this neglect? Just because it is a manga cafe why do you presume it is sleazy?

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laconic

i take it you have never seen japanese people reading manga, if you did you wud know where I am coming from, this poor 2yr old died because of neglect by his parents, I am not asking parents to give up life but surely a little common sense isnt asking a lot, unfortunately for some it is.

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I feel for this couple in what is certainly a catastrophic tragedy. Having never gone through this kind of loss myself, I can only empathize, but even in doing that, the sheer horror of contemplating such loss personally, even hypothetically, makes me queasy. But . . . I’m going to have to side with Romulus and Damax6 to some degree on this (minus most of the histrionics).

According to a slightly more detailed Japanese news site article on the same story, this isn’t a situation of parents who just lost track of their child in a busy moment or a crowded shop. The couple went into a Comic Café with their child, and left him playing unattended in a provided Kid’s Area near the “game corner,” while they headed off to play the slot machines and crane-grab games nearby. The Kid’s Area isn’t visible from the service counter and there apparently was no staff watching the children in the Kid’s Area. Subsequently, no one noticed the child had wandered out of the store until 3:00 PM. It was 20 minutes before they found the poor child in the ditch.

Now, certainly, the couple might have a valid complaint were they to ask why there was no adult supervision in the Kid’s Area, an area where ostensibly parents can leave their children in safety while they relax. And they may also have a valid complaint about the flooded water channel not having adequate protection, like a grate, covering it. But neither point raised erases the fundamental truth that these parents did indeed leave their child unattended in the Kid’s Area while they played the slots.

Let’s be honest here. This wasn’t a situation of a couple sitting around a cup of tea and small talk while the children played nearby, within eye- and earshot. They were devoting their attention to slots and games in the Game Center of a Comic Café. Not shopping. Not walking through a crowd, a festival, a shopping center, or a train station. They were playing slots in a game center and left their child to a tragic fate. Slots.

Something that some posters here are confusing is the difference between those dangers that 2-year olds experience on a day-to-day basis that are preventable versus those that aren’t. Getting hit by a car driven by someone negligent or nuts? That’s an entirely different premise and it’s foolish to use such an example of a clearly unpreventable tragedy as a supporting point for what happened with the 2-year old in this story. A 2-year old simply should NOT be in a situation where he or she can wander off unattended and fall into a drainage ditch. It should never have happened.

Before leisure, before relaxation, before taking a time-out, the first and foremost responsibility for a parent, particularly the parent of an incredibly inquisitive, incredibly mobile two-year old, is to ensure that child’s safety. Everything else is secondary, including, yes, a personal life, and yes, leisure time.

Call me draconian, call me holier-than-thou, but this was a wholly preventable accident, not on the part of the café or the city, although there are areas for improvement there, but on the part of the parents. At the risk of verging on histrionics with the use of all-caps, NOTHING else matters. If this comes across as preaching, that’s because it is: Parents need to watch their children, full stop. Any parent that can’t understand this has no business raising kids, IMO.

Leashes? Hell yeah. I see nothing wrong with them. Like Greensatindress points out: Which is better, demeaning or dead? Two-year olds don’t know demeaning, just like they don’t know that ditches full of running water are dangerous. I plan to have a leash for every day of the week in designer colors.

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STILL this was a clear cut case of neglect.. what is their purpose in a manga kisa, anyone been to one.. do you see 2 yr old kid there???NO!!!!

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Im with you Cleo. I used a leash with both my children. My son is now 2, he is not old enough to understand dangers when they are explained to him, and he is too energetic and too strong now to make him hold my hand.

I found a cute leash with a teddy backback, the leash attatched to the bears tail. He loves wearing it, and I always have my hand on him. Its not demeaning, its just a safety measure.

RIP little Riku kun.

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My question is how the kid got completely outside without the shopkeepers noticing, or doing anything.

I'm an advocate of child care centers for this reason - when Americans want to go somewhere without having to look after their kids, they can drop them off in a store-provided outlet! Japan could benefit from the concept.

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Keshii- I think japan is getting there. IKEA in the Yokohama area provides that service for parents for up to an hour I believe. There is progress, but still those parents where responsible enough to place their kid(s)in such a space. The parents in this situation, did no such thing. Its was an avoidable accident, if and only if they had given their child the attention.

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I had to use a harness on my daughter - she was quick. She could escape in a blink of an eye. When she was 2, I was in a grocery store and checked a label once - 5 seconds, if that...literally - she wandered away and I spent 10 minutes looking for her. We bought the harness that afternoon and had no problems until she understood it is safer to hang close to Mom and Dad.

A harness is not humiliating. It is a common sense safety measure for your young kids/toddlers, especially in a crazy urban environment.

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I am glad to read that there are some safety conscious, open-minded parents out there using the so-called "demeaning" harness. Thank you for watching over your kids.

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mom and dad are a couple of idiots. having a 2 yr old is enough entertainment as it is. I thought the purpose of going out is to enjoy it with your kid not rid of him.

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Are these parents in their early teens......you just don't leave a 2 year old to wander about ANYWHERE!

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Can't say I'm surprised by this. I get to see up close and personal how most children are treated: they are left at hoikoens or yocheins, and rarely given any kind of physical contact, especially from their fathers. As others have posted in here, parenting is a full-time thing, and it takes a Mom and a Dad, not either or. This is a pathetically sad story. Hopefully, these parents will be tried for negligence....

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I used a kiddie harness with my kids and I am glad I did. I really don`t see a problem with it.

I am not sure about the kid corners here. Are they supposed to have staff watching the kids? I would think they would. And seriously, if you have a 2 year-old and you still have the need to go to manga cafe and read comics, you have no business having kids. What part of ``your life changes after you have a child, do people not understand?

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I don't know why people are so opposed to the kid leash.

If people would just smack their kids when they wandered off, they wouldn't need a leash and the kids wouldn't die/get napped by pedos/etc.

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