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4-year-old boy dies after 12-story fall from Chiba apartment

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A four-year-old boy, who was left at home alone while his mother went shopping, fell to his death from the balcony of a 12th floor apartment in Inzai City, Chiba Prefecture, on Tuesday.

The body of Keito Fukuda was discovered in the courtyard by his mother when she arrived home just after 4 p.m. The boy was rushed to hospital but died soon after.

According to police, Keito apparently brought a chair from the living room onto the balcony and used it to climb over the railing.

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Ok, I know this is a dead topic but it still needs to be said. The mother was from japan. In japan they have very strict codes. Especially with health. She didn't take her son with her because he was sick. Its very impolite for sick people to go out in public to spread disease in a place as crowded as japan. She went to buy he son medicine to help him. Understand culture from other places before you go bashing anyone because, as it has been said, no one is perfect!

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if my wife is on a trip he's at the grandpatents so i can take a shower

Wow.

At night he sleeps with his mother or me.

Wow.

Moderator: All readers back on topic please.

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When i shower the wife is with my son, when she's in the shower i'm with my son. if my wife is on a trip he's at the grandpatents so i can take a shower. At night he sleeps with his mother or me. Their is no magical number just a thing called common sense.

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Yes when my son was 2-3 had be in the bathroom with me or near the door if the air was foul. Now that he's 4.5 he and i go to the bathroom alone.

How about when you take a shower? How about when you go to sleep at night? And what's this magical number of 4.5?

The point here is that those who cry "never leave your kids alone" are in fact have always "left their kids alone" one time or another on an every day basis but are fortunate that accidents like this didn't happen. Hindsight is always 20/20 when it comes to accidents involving a child.

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This is so sad. As many have clearly stated, you should never leave a young child alone. Period. There is quite a difference between going to the bathroom (30 seconds) and going out to the combini (at least 5 minutes). The boy was probably frightened and went out to try to find his mom.

kirakira: Good luck with the child-proofing! Perhaps if balcony doors were made with child proof locks, these devastatingly horrible accidents could be avoided.

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Yes when my son was 2-3 had be in the bathroom with me or near the door if the air was foul. Now that he's 4.5 he and i go to the bathroom alone.

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Little boys can be a nightmare. My 4 year old is intent on applying for a Darwin award before he hits puberty. In an ideal world you SHOULD watch your kids like a hawk at all times. However, in practice this is just not possible and it only takes a second for disaster to strike.

However - this mother left her child alone. I totally understand why she did it - if he was fast asleep in a locked apartment, sick in bed and she didn`t want to disturb him and was only going to be 5 minutes the thought might have crossed my mind too - there but for the grace of God go a lot of us whether we are prepared to admit it or not.

But ultimately she shouldnt have left him alone. Isnt hindsight a wonderful thing? She will be paying the price for this for the rest of her life.

The thing with little boys is to always expect the unexpected. We are about to move from an apartment on the 3rd floor with a ledge right under us to one on the 17th floor. I am going to see it today to check for safety features and what we need to buy to make it safer. I am seriously concerned right now - how do I keep that little beggar off the balcony??! He has houdini-like qualities for being able to pick locks and get into trouble. And I`m sorry, but if you are in another room it CAN still happen - 4 year old monkeys really ARE that quick!

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Every excuse you have given in your posts are lame justifications for either being lazy or for being ignorant. Doesn't matter if he was sick. Doesn't matter if he was asleep. Doesn't matter if she needed to buy something for him. Doesn't matter if the convenience store is only on the 1st floor. IT IS TOTALLY NEGLIGENT to leave you child unattended.

How about going to a bathroom? Don't tell me you take your kids along for the ride.

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I have three kids, and I have never left them home alone. The conclusion is "we never leave kids home alone" period. What I just wanted to say is that so many people accused the mother as if they were the justice. I think that she was a very good mother for the boy. She is not like a parent who abuses kids although she made a wrong decision which resulted in a tragic accident. Cannot we discuss what happened and learn what to do instead of accusing somebody?

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fairjudgment at 07:21 AM JST - 23rd April I am not justifying leaving kids home alone. Mothers might feel sorry for her more than the others do. Mothers have faced the reality although most of fathers have not, and just impose the ideal to mothers. Needless to say, peope who haven't had kids have not faced the reality. Things could happen in a minute whether parents stay at home with kids or not, unless parents keep their eyes on their kids at every freaking moment. House keeping jobs are done more while kids are sleeping.

But you are justifying it by giving lame excuses for it. It may only take 5 min. (as stated in your earlier post) for her to go down to the convenience store, but it only takes 3.79 seconds (estimation courtesy of the IOC) for a child to plummet 12 stories.

Every excuse you have given in your posts are lame justifications for either being lazy or for being ignorant. Doesn't matter if he was sick. Doesn't matter if he was asleep. Doesn't matter if she needed to buy something for him. Doesn't matter if the convenience store is only on the 1st floor. IT IS TOTALLY NEGLIGENT to leave you child unattended.

He's dead, she's not. Who gets the short end of someone else's stupidity?

I am making an assumption here, but as a father of 2 small boys, I guess I have that right. The kid was looking for his mom - that is why he fell. Most kids do not wander out on the balcony, get up on a chair, and lean over the edge if the parents are in the house. He woke up, yelled for mommy (no answer), looked around the house for mommy (no answer), and ten KNOWING that mommy frequently leaves him alone to go to that nice convenient convenience store on 1st floor while leaving him in the apartment alone, he went out to see if he could see her and, well, 3.79 seconds later...

Had she just been in another room in the apt., this would not have happened.

I am often in other rooms in my place cleaning, working, etc. and my boys always come right to me. They don't step foot on our balcony (we are on the 10th floor) without say so when I and my wife are at home. Now, do they step foot out there when we are NOT home? Dunno, cuz WE NEVER LEAVE THEM HOME ALONE - EVER.

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I have two small children, 2.5 and 4.5 and we watch them like hawks. If Daddy doesn` help out mummy, then sometimes mummy has to make decisions in their hectic days. I would not consider the mother an idiot, but she did something really stupid.

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How could this idiot mother leave her 4 year old alone!! Stupid, idiot mother! I want to find her and kick her ass in side and out! RIP poor little boy! I would never leave my children alone, my boy is 6 and he will watch tv, if I go out shopping but 4, no way! Too young to leave a 4 year old boy by himself, falling 12 floors to his death, how scary and sad.

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I am not justifying leaving kids home alone. Mothers might feel sorry for her more than the others do. Mothers have faced the reality although most of fathers have not, and just impose the ideal to mothers. Needless to say, peope who haven't had kids have not faced the reality. Things could happen in a minute whether parents stay at home with kids or not, unless parents keep their eyes on their kids at every freaking moment. House keeping jobs are done more while kids are sleeping.

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Again! Short or long trip to the store does not matter YOU DONT LEAVE LITTLE ONES HOME ALONE!!! Sick or not sick YOU DONT LEAVE LITTLE ONES HOME ALONE!!!

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So many people criticized from the very limited information. Would they have given the same comment as they had actually done if they had known the whole true story? The four-year-old boy was absent from his kindergaten because he caught a cold. Since he was very sick, his mother took good care of him, and put him to bed. There was a convenience store at the 1st floor of their apartment. It took only five minutes to buy something and come back. The mother might have wanted to buy something for her beloved son. She had only one child. She wanted him to recover from his sickness as quickly as possible, so she left the sleeping child with safely locked apartment in only five minutes. Who could have expected that a sleeping four-year-old boy would have gotten up, have unlocked balcony door, have taken his chair outside, and have fallen down in five minutes? I am just terribly sorry for the mother.

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I quite honestly believe there has been a few BS cases that were NOT accidents at all. In this society that has too many killing of their own children because “they couldn’t handle it anymore.” There had to been a parent or two that out there that was over fed up with their child and rather than risk the chance of getting caught and going to prison for outright murder. It would be a lesser disciplinarily action against the parent to pretend that they fell out of a window when they happened to go out to the store. All these stories sound the same. As a disgruntled parent that has had enough, one may read these stories and get it in their crazy little minds that this would be a possible escape route. Sad…

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We don't let our kids out of sight for a moment (although they do tend to escape occasionally). They're 7 & 9 and we still watch them like hawks - just our style I suppose. The good side is we get to experience and enjoy more of watching them grow up.

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Problem is bigger than that, not just mother. Government and society is responsible for this death. In new social system people are trying to make independent life is causing all these problem.

That's absolutely ludicrous!

It comes down to stupid parents with no common-sense.. A very common trait in Japan... If government and society are doing anything wrong, it's allowing Japanese to go through life, acting like 12 years olds...

In the U.S., these parents would most likely have been charged with child abuse or negligence, you can't leave young children unattended...PERIOD....

And didn't we just read this same story like 3 weeks ago...?

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Short or long trip to the store does not matter YOU DONT LEAVE LITTLE ONES HOME ALONE!!!

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I live very close to where this happened. There is a convenience store on the first floor of this new apartment building. The kid was sick and the mother went down to the convenient store to get him something. That is when it happened. I am not defending anyone or giving my opinion but the article makes it sound like the mother was off shopping for a long period of time.

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I see lot of moms who get fed up with their kids, and then leave them sitting there on the sidewalk or in the middle of the shopping mall. the kid is screaming for some reason, and the mom is just walking away.

That's what my mother did with me.

I'm not a mother (only 17), but I would never leave my four year old home alone, even if they knew the dangers of things.

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Smithinjapan: the negative I am refering to is the calls for parent assistance that simply end with the official "Oyaji" telling the working mums: "Babysitting is an American thing - ask your mother to look after the baby while you go do your errands" - babysitting is virtually prohibited unless special permission is granted by the local authorities. I've heard: "Why are you living far from your friends?"; "Take your child with you if it means so much to you. If the child was that important you wouldn't be leaving it with another person..."; "How old is your child? 3? She's old enough to stay alone for awhile - you7re spoiling the kids these days..."

This is the daily response parents are getting when asking for help from their employers (who force them into unpaid overtime), from the local authorities who demand the parents think about quitting their jobs while laughing "Don't think about coming here for welfare assistance once you quit."

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This should be in the crime area. Tilte "Mother Charged with Negligence Resulting in the Death of a Child"

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Penelope: " But accidents happen..."

No kidding! Especially when you put a chair in front of the balcony railing and leave the door open while you go out to the convenience store. Did she paint big yellow arrows towards the chair and over the balcony, too? I guess that would be another tragic example of an accident.

Seriously, how people can defend this woman and say 'accidents happen'? This is the direct result of negligence! I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that this woman is going through absolute agony, and in a way I feel for her, but the bitterest part of that agony will be that she knows she shouldn't have left the kid alone, nor should the balcony door have been open, nor the chair on the balcony for the kid to easily stand on, etc. Pointing out how stupidly obvious the danger signs and negligence was is not 'parent-bashing', it's calling a spade a spade.

My only hope is that out of this some parents will realize they need to child-proof their homes a bit better, and perhaps take away some of the stuff kids can stand on on the balcony and get rid of it. But given that this happens so often, my guess is no one will take notice of it at all except to sigh and say how awful it is (which it is).

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Its 100% the mothers fault..a 4 year old on his own? and the balcony isnt even locked? my God!! if she loved that boy..she would think of the worst..and choose to bring him along with her..she chose to leave him thinking nothing would happen to him, but every mother..a mother who loves her child..would think otherwise...its how much you love your child..sure accidents happen,but this kind of " accidents " (falling children from the 12th floor) can be prevented..I wouldnt even call it an accident, its negligence, to protect the children, Japan should make a law against these stupid acts of parents..

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The parent-bashing here is a bit over the top. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, you don't go to university to learn how to be a parent, you use your instincts, your heart, common sense and what you learnt from your own family. Granted, some people are better at it than others, some people put their own needs ahead of their kids', some people have no motherly/fatherly instincts and some people have really bad judgement. But accidents happen, even to the best parents in the world: you can't protect your children from everything. I think people shouldn't judge without knowing the full details. Losing a child is the worse thing in the world and this mother is already in her own private hell without having to be condemned by others.

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unsrejects: "We can say all we like about parenting but in a society that thrives on responding to every cry for help with a negative... many more innocent little lives are going to be lost."

Sad story, and yet another example of a child falling from the balcony. Happens far too often around here. In some cases I have no doubt that the parent(s) is not quite as neglectful as this woman was, and may well simply be in the bathroom, but all too often do I see balconies covered in clutter, and I have seen more than one child stand on top of boxes or what have you and dangle over the railings.

But what's this negative you speak of? What's the cry for help? Should we be supporting this woman who lost her child out of extremely gross negligence? True, scolding her isn't going to bring back her child any more than a little 'Yoshi, yoshi!' pat on the shoulder, but society needs to look at this and learn. How about childproof locks, for starters?

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Rest in peace Keito. My son's three year old friend fell nine floors last Monday in Hiroshima and died. Attending his funeral was the most gut wrenching experience I've ever been through. The daycare had stressed that the funeral was a private family affair. But on Wednesday morning when I took my little boy in and found not a single sign of the place honoring the boy I spoke with the first mother I saw. She was equally flabbergasted. By ten am my missus had put together a posse of parents not willing to let the little boy go to his grave without his friends saying goodbye. We called around and located the funeral parlor and went for the funeral - from 12. The boys kin were moved by the parents gesture. And I was surprised to find that a man I'd trained ten years ago and who considered himself a good friend of mine was the boy's mothers brother. The boy had somehow managed to open the locked balcony door... We can say all we like about parenting but in a society that thrives on responding to every cry for help with a negative... many more innocent little lives are going to be lost.

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This is really no different than when a parent leaves a child anywhere unattended, be it at home while she heads to the department store or conbini, or in the car while mom or dad goes for a few rounds of pachinko -- both are grossly negligent, and clearly the result is tragic.

I hope she gets charged for negligence resulting in the death of a child. However, knowing the judicial system here she'll get nothing having, 'suffered enough'. Well, pardon me but she DESERVES to suffer, and then some.

I'm sorry, but you just don't leave a four year old child at home unattended for any reason, and for any length of time. Why didn't she just put a giant pot of boiling water on the edge of a stove, a kitchen knife hanging off the counter, and a few forks in front of the power sockets around the house while she was at it?

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Problem is bigger than that, not just mother. Government and society is responsible for this death. In new social system people are trying to make independent life is causing all these problem. Old times, neighbors or friends or grandparents used help and care about the society. These days life became very materialistic, not helping each other.

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bamboohat- the mom is 37 years old and dad is a company worker (41 years old). the boy was their only child.

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Deja-vu! Take your children with you mothers!!

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Again??!! Is this becoming a trend in Japan overall (hope not), or does it just seem that way because of the recent daily story on JT?

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This is not a Japanese-only phenomenon. My French sister in law leaves her 4 and 6 year old kids by themselves all the time. But it's true that in Japan, children's safety is not the same as in other industrialized countries. You see it with the kids in front seats of cars or with no seat-belts, in kids riding bikes without a helmet, in tiny tots going to school by themselves and playing at the local park by themselves. It's a cultural thing I guess.

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I see lot of moms who get fed up with their kids, and then leave them sitting there on the sidewalk or in the middle of the shopping mall. the kid is screaming for some reason, and the mom is just walking away.

The mom leaves, kid falls at 4PM, and the MOM finds the kid? Suspicious, to say the least. Also, why is the mom not named? Is she married, husband, age?

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My mother in law proudly told me she left her kids and went shopping alone all the time

this is just unbelievable.. i wouldn't be able to go anywhere leaving my kids because i would be worried too much knowing what they are capable of doing.. they can open the window, they can throw things, they can run down the stairs.. they usually don't, but they can, and i need to watch them to make sure they don't.

one little mistake can take your angels away.

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I am SO sick of these stories! I have been told in the past by well-meaning Japanese grannies on the street that my kids shouldn`t be out in the cold/wet. I ask them how I am then supposed to get food for dinner and their answer is "leave them at home"!

My mother in law proudly told me she left her kids and went shopping alone all the time. She wonders why we never ask her to babysit....

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dammit- excuse me but i am not a troll. as i have stated before (see below), i don't believe it is acceptable to leave your small child alone. i was just saying that one mistake can lead to a tragedy like this, and that is why we cannot make a mistake like this. if you read all my posts, you can see how i do not think this was acceptable.

4-year-olds are curious and anything could happen, and that's why we, parents, need to be extra careful and try to foresee things before something like this happens..

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The idea that kids are brought up to depend on themselves because mommy and daddy are not always going to be available is irresponsible on the part of the parents when the child is under 12. I believe some Japanese parent(s) should not think that his or her child is capable of looking after himself or herself until the child is a teenager. Children should never be left on their own for any reasons.

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Asukawind at 11:44 AM JST - 21st April

How is she considered a foolish parent? For what reason do everyone blame the mom for this? It was just a tragic accident

christyjapan at 11:46 AM JST - 21st April

This mother might have been a very good mother, but just one mistake can lead to a tragedy.. it's sad.

I don't recognise your names. Please forgive me if I'm speaking out of turn, but are you two trolls? Either way I don't agree with you. Frankly you must be either incredibly naive or totally irresponsible if you genuinely believe that it's acceptable and safe to leave young children on their own ANYWHERE, let alone so high up from the ground.

Poor little boy, if only there was hope that his death would get through to people how dangerous the practice of leaving small kids alone is. But although I think some people like to exaggerate the number of times this happens in Japan it certainly happens far too often, and some people never ever learn from the mistakes of others. Why is that? Do they not watch the news? Do they think their own convenience is of a higher priority than their children's safety?

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I'm NOT with Kazan, Bicultural, no ChristyinJapan on this one, AT ALL.

Leaving your child (4 years old!!) alone for any "reasonable" (e.g. leaving them alone while you go to the toilet, etc. does not count) amount of time is lazy, negligent, and criminal. Period. Just because it has been done before and nothing happened those times, does not make it any less negligent.

Quit being lazy parents and do what your job is to do: take care of and protect your child. No excuses, no self-justification.

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Mother should be charged with negligence resulting in manslaughter. Simple and plain. You don't leave a FOUR yr OLD unattended for ANY amount of time. It's 100% her fault.

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i'm with kazan and bicultural, too.

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What is wrong with these parents you don't leave young kids alone NEVER! My be we need a parents class before we have kids.

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This is how many times in the last 18 months? I swear, if this were an Olympic event, the Japanese would have the medals sown up. While feeling sorry for the child, I cannot help but think that the government should be doing something either at a legal or policy level. What an absolute disgrace.

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I'm with kazan on this one.

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I have met some clever 4-5 year olds. I can't imagine a child not having instinct that is screaming in the back of their head that any height is a danger to them. Even with a chair the kid would have to climb over the balcony to fall...

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Was it an accident or a murder cover up? What moron leaves a 4 year old home alone on any floor, first through 12th and goes shopping? Maybe she had enough and threw him off the balcony, went to the store and came home later, that is what a good detective would be checking out.

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Persons defending this mother either have no kids or are guilty of the same neglect.

Please don't generalize. Plenty of people on JT are parents, and all of us have been raised by parents. When I was four, my parents could trust me not to do anything ridiculously stupid, but again, they had child-proofed the dangerous things in the house just in case. Whether the mother trusted the boy wouldn't climb on the balcony, or whether she left the door unlocked, whatever the case, it's a tragic accident.

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An accident that would not have happened if the mother was not an irresponsible twit! Leaving a child alone in house, aparent or car is neglect and also illegal in most countries. Persons defending this mother either have no kids or are guilty of the same neglect.

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This mother might have been a very good mother, but just one mistake can lead to a tragedy.. it's sad.

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How is she considered a foolish parent? For what reason do everyone blame the mom for this? It was just a tragic accident

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BTTSimon-

How do we know that the child was looking for his mother?

No we don't know, and that's why I said IF. Yes, 4-year-olds are curious and anything could happen, and that's why we, parents, need to be extra careful and try to foresee things before something like this happens..

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How do we know that the child was looking for his mother? Perhaps he was pulling the chair to the edge to take a look at all the noises that where coming from down there - cars, people and so on.....

The door being left unlocked was a shame and leaving a 4 year old at home by himself is a bit questioning..... but we have no idea what the mother was really doing.

My heart goes out to the child, father and grandparents.

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My son is 4 and from the age of 3 has been aware of the dangers of heights and aware of life and death and what it means. It does not take much effort to explain household dangers to kids and if you love them then it should be natural to do so. Its not good enough to say "dont do this" but provide no explanation. But how do you protect a child from the household danger of a foolish parent?

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Truly a sad story. Unlike most of you i dont blame the mom for this at all. She shouldn't have left the child alone i know but she only left for a few minutes. Its like noone has ever left there child alone before. My heart goes out to the mom.

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Monkeyz- true, but my question is --- did the mother tell the boy she was going to a store for a few minutes and would be back right away? if the boy was looking for the mother, then her fault was not to tell him where she was going to and when she would be back. if the mother was in a different room, i don't think the boy would drag the chair to the balcony and climb up.

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If the kid was sick in bed, she probably didn't want to get him up and drag him out with her while she ran to get a few things. And if she truly was gone for just a few minutes, really, this same tragedy could have happened if she had gone to answer the door or even gone to the bathroom.

Sure, some blame rests on the mom, but I would say about 30%. The rest is all the kid. It's not like she left a window open with a table underneath, or doggy steps, or anything like that. The kid dragged a chair onto the balcony and threw himself off. Sad, but difficult to prevent unless you're totally smothering the kid. At four years old you SHOULD be able to leave the kid alone for 10 minutes without them dying. When I was four, my mom didn't have to be in the room with me every single second to make sure I didn't drink bleach. This isn't a baby we're talking about.

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I can't imagine what kind of brain this mother has.

you mean "HAD". Her brain obviously fell out the window with her common sense before the tragedy happened too. I just don't understand..(T_T)

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This is unbelievable,ridiculous, leaving a 4 years old child alone, I can't imagine what kind of brain this mother has. May you rest in peace little one.

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Another "Tears in Heaven" tragedy. Sad.

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Can we steer clear of tarring all Japanese mothers with the same brush, please? It is totally untrue and very offensive.

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The boy's father must be peeved !!!!! Mothers do not have any common sense in this country. Even the first floor is dangerous for a child. Swallowing or drinking household cleaners,laundry soap,bleach & etc. Alot of hazards when a child is home alone in the house. Idiot mother !!!! She should be fined !!!

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I think what surprises me the most about this story is that families with little kids apparently leave them with ready access to the balcony. The kid pulled a chair over to the rail, for crying out loud! The mother should have had more common sense, even if she was just running to the conbini.

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Common sense fell out the widow too, when the Mother left the child at home by himself. SAD!!

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I don't know why you deleted my last post...I simply pointed out that there are too many of these dimwit mothers who think it is OK to leave their child alone in the house. The same retard mothers who think it is OK to let their child jump around in the car without their seatbelts on. Why does't commonsense exist in this country???????

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This four year old little angel would live long if his mother clung him or hold him at least with her to the dept. store and after a while went home together.Four years old children should not be left home alone because this is the stage where they easily feel afraid of anything and they are so curiosity in discovering things around them without thinking that it will do them harm.

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I can't belive the frequency of infant deaths due to negelgence in Japan. She went to the combining for five minutes? i guess the mother just learned what can happen in five minutes at the expense of her child's life. Poor kid. No sympathy for the mother what-so-ever!

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Poor thing. No safety latches on doors and windows here.

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Who would leave a 4 year old home alone? Unless whoever was babysitting (grandma) fell asleep when she should have been watching the boy...

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How many times does this have to happen before the government requires the building owners to put up protective netting or something? All of these deaths from children falling from balconies are totally preventable, and are needless deaths.

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ok, here it is. the boy was sick and didn't go to kindergarten that day, so he was in bed while the mother went to a nearby convenience store for about 5 minutes according to yahoo japan. i still don't think she should have left him alone even for a short time, but what kind of important stuff did she have to go get? i mean, couldn't she wait until the next morning and take the boy with her? i wouldn't call this mother evil, but unable to foresee things..

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Very sad..... even sadder is this doesnt shock me anymore. I would say a very small percent of kids get killed in Japan with pure negligence, almost guaranteed death by the new generation.... NPA should look into this rising issue.

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I can't be bothered toting a 4 year old around, today is 20% off all women's undergarments at Yokado dammit!

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why was this boy left alone? why did the mother have to go out without taking her little boy? didn't exactly the same thing happen in the last several month? 4-year-olds are not old enough to be left alone but capable of opening windows, moving chairs and climbing up.. what kind of good excuse does this mother have? if the boy was 10 years old, that would be one thing, but a 4-YEAR-OLD!!!!!!!!!! Geez..

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She actually left the balcony door open. Bizarre. Guess the poor little kid was trying to get a good view of his mother coming home or at least looking for her. Very sad.

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Another fishy story...Help these children, Lord.

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