Japan Today

3-year-old boy left in car dies from heatstroke


A three-year-old boy died of heatstroke after being left in a car for more than five hours in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture, on Wednesday.

According to police, at around 2 p.m., the boy’s 67-year-old grandmother notified the fire department that her grandchild “was slumped” inside the car in the parking lot outside her home, Fuji TV reported. The boy, Masato Takei, was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead about an hour after arrival.

Police said the woman usually drives her grandson straight to kindergarten but on Wednesday, she had an errand to do on the way. After that, she returned home at around 9 a.m. and apparently unaware that the boy was in the back seat of the car.

Police quoted the grandmother as saying, “I completely forgot that he was in the car until about five hours later.”

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the outside temperature Sendai reached a high of 25.9 degrees Celsius on Wednesday morning.

Miyagi prefectural police are considering filing charges of involuntary manslaughter against the woman.

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Another one! I can only repeat my comment, some people just don't deserve to have kids.

-8 ( +6 / -14 )

why didn't the kindergarten call to check where the kid was? most do when a child doesn't show up. but what a terrible tragedy. why bother to file charges? the grief is punishment enough.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Three year old talk. Is grandma hard of hearing?

RIP you poor child. Horrific.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

some people just don't deserve to have kids.

don't you mean "some people don't deserve to have GRANDkids" since it was the grandmother who forgot?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Stew pid! As it was the GM, I hope pachinko (or a smartphone) wasn't involved.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Disillusioned, pretty sure it was the kid's grandmother.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Poor kid. RIP.

This is absent-minded/distracted negligence, not the totally irresponsible "I'll just play a bit of pachinko" selfish type.

However, the mother probably forgot the boy was in the car and came home without going to the kindy because she ran the errand with the boy left in the car. For all but very short errands, that's irresponsible for a child that young.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

wow, murdered her own grandson. may the grief and shame she is going through be punishment enough for this despicable wretch

RIP little boy

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

I have had heat stroke so far twice this year. I think there could be some other factors involved. Number one is dementia. Number two is radiation food. 25 degrees is not so hot. but if the car was black the heat would intensify. So we don't know all the facts but the poor child. Died. This is so sad.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

@Dan Lewis - Disillusioned, pretty sure it was the kid's grandmother.

Yes, I am fully aware it was the grandmother. That has no bearing on my previous statement. Some people just don't deserve to have kids, be they parents or grandparents. This woman is only 67, which is not that old. She should not have forgotten her grandson was in the car. Furthermore, she should not have left him in the car while she was on her 'errand', whatever that was. Kids are left in cars way too often in Japan. At supermarkets, department stores and everybody's favorite, PACHINKO! They treat their cars like mobile babysitters. They just don't deserve to have kids period!

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

There, but for the grace of God, goes any one of us...

2 ( +7 / -5 )

This woman is only 67, which is not that old. She should not have forgotten her grandson was in the car. 

I am only in my 50's and I forget what I was going to say, or why I went to the kitchen half the time, not making excuses for her, but when your memory starts to go, it goes, whether you want it to or not!

wow, murdered her own grandson

Murder.."the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.", I doubt it was premeditated, , manslaughter would be a better word in this situation!

7 ( +9 / -2 )

This is so sad.

But Dementia onset can start a lot younger than most think and it gradually creeps up on you till you go some place cannot find your car and you are standing next to it .

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Very very sad. R.I.P lil man. Sad story all the way around. But I would like to know the parents reaction. Guilt for not taking the child to daycare themselves.... or angry as in mom how could you forget he was in the car? I have mixed feelings about this. As I know many Japanese younger families rely n depend on Bachan or jichan to watch kids almost as in forced. But I say you have kids you watch them yourselves or do what you need to do so that you can watch them. I'm American married to a Japanese woman. I always get on my wife about asking her mother to watch our kids and my wife doesn't work. So it really bugs me that she does that.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Just tragic on so many levels! Anyone could do this kind of thing. Used to her habits, with the child asleep, auto-pilot took over. Feel so bad for her and her family. I hope they don't slap a long jail sentence on her - killing her grandson is punishment enough. She may lose her son or daughter over this, and the stresses caused by this could well cause the parents to divorce. The stuff of nightmares!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I don't let my inlaws drive my kids to nursery or watch them alone because of this kind of thing. They are far too inattentive and forgetful to be responsible for such young children. If they were 10 years younger it would be different, but the reality is that they can't do it anymore. There have been a few close calls because my spouse insists on giving them endless chances but at this point I have a good grasp of what they are and aren't capable of and I don't allow those lines to be crossed. When the kids are older and can look out for themselves better then they can stay at grandma's alone, but I can't bet their lives on grandma's ever encroaching senility.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Five hours is a long time for "an errand". Even a hairdo and shopping expedition ought to take less than that.

RIP to the child, thoughts for the parents, and sympathy for the grandmother who will be mortified for the rest of her life.

A public information campaign about not leaving people and pets in cars, would be worth considering.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

And this only keeps on happening! As if people are still unaware that this is a thing in their society and do not even try... How to raise awareness, how to warn the citizens against such misdeeds? Should the children be educated instead, if the adults can't be trusted with such responsibilities? I do not know what should be done anymore.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@Ron Barnes - But Dementia onset can start a lot younger than most think and it gradually creeps up on you till you go some place cannot find your car and you are standing next to it .

Oh, I'm sorry. I missed the part of the article that states the woman was suffering from dementia. Oh, hang on! The article doesn't state anything about the woman having dementia. That's just something you made up, right? Dementia is just a convenient excuse for negligence.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

"Five hours is a long time for "an errand". Even a hairdo and shopping expedition ought to take less than that."

The way I read it is: She ran the errand and went home, having forgotten to take the kid to school and was home by 9am, she was in her house for those 5 hours. A break from her normal routine apparently.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

This is really heart breaking story, poor kid. I have no idea how the grandma completely forgot about him. This should be a lesson. The mom of the child could have called the grandma to at least check if everything went well on dropping the kid to the kindergarten.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Seriously. How could you forget that a child is in your car? How absent-minded do you have to be? And for 5 hours?...REALLY?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I think we see over 10's of such cases every year. Some of them are pure ignorance and some might be lame mistakes. I always think that this problem can be solved by really simple motion detection technology that we have almost everywhere to turn on lights. Govt should make it compulsory for people with kids etc. Just detect a person and warn by an alarm in case of such an incident.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Grandmother, why am I still in the car? Grandmother, why am I not at nursery? Grandmother?!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

My grandson is not a burden.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I didn't read the story properly so this was the grandmother, not the mother. As you get older, absent-mindedness definitely increases.

However, I still think it is very likely that the grandmother forgot about the child in the car because she (knowingly) left him in it when she ran the errand, something which is very common practice in Japan. The more often children are left alone in cars, the more likely it is that they will end up being stuck there longer than intended due to unforeseen circumstances. "Unforeseen" circumstances may include the post office or doctors being busy, not having the right hanko, meeting someone you know who wants to chat, the cash point having no money in it, etc. etc.

0 ( +2 / -2 )


If you will question me personally, yes I do call my mother when she baby sits my kids (she doesn't drive though) so I know they will just be inside the house.

Well you see, I am not Japanese. I don't think and act the way they are although I am very respectful of their culture and I know for a fact that Japanese does not normally get phone calls except when it's really important.

My kids goes to Kindergarten, if you miss a day and there is no event whatsoever the school does not usually call, on the second day they will.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

the boy is dead, the grandmother is suffering from guilt because she was absent minded. It was her fault though she might be the last person on earth to wish her grandson any harm. Any word of sympathy? Why are you all SO perfect?

5 ( +6 / -1 )

No sympathy for the woman, but suicide watch for sure.  The boy, docile in the backseat, waiting a second time for grandma to take him to Kinder.  She never re-emerged from the house and that was his doom ( after he succumbed to the heat and passed out ).  My opinion is that it is extremely urgent to legislate that all small children be seated in the front passenger seat (facing backward), and all modern vehicles be equipped with an off switch for the airbag.  You will never forget a child sitting next to you.  You will chat and make eye contact.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Can't believe that with all the superb automakers in Japan, not one of them has taken up to fight this issue. Can't they think of an alarm or sensor or anything as an optional feature to include when purchase?? It will save many innocent lives.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

To sometimes be absent minded is part of the human condition.

Usually, it doesn't result in this type of fatality.

In this case it's tragic

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Custodial sentence for the grandmother , and quick !

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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