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4-year-old girl dies after fall from 9th-floor balcony in Osaka town

60 Comments

A four-year-old girl tumbled off the balcony of her 9th floor home to her death in Yao, Osaka Prefecture on Tuesday, police said Wednesday.

At around 7:30 p.m., a passerby noticed the girl, still alive, lying on the ground below the building and called authorities, who rushed her to the hospital. She died an hour after arrival at the hospital.

According to police, the girl lived with her family of four in the apartment, but at the time, the other three family members were out. Police say the balcony door was found open, and suspect the girl climbed up over the railing and lost her grip.

© News reports

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60 Comments
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Unbelievable. A 4 year old left alone with the balcony door open? Sounds fishy as hell.

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What a horrible story. If her parents aren't guilty of something, they sure as hell are going to feel guilt the rest of their lives. Why weren't they named and quoted?

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All too common in Japan these days. Coming from a sociological point of view... my glorified pet theory is proved once again. My heart sinks for this kid, and a lot of kids who get this treatment. Poor kid had a horrible death.

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btw... I have stopped a few kids from straddling a balcony over the years and Mommy/Daddy is always nowhere to be found. Pls do something Govt, or at least start handing out prison terms.

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oh my god. Poor, poor kid. Must have been so scared....

What will it take to prosecute these negligent parents? How many kids have to die or be injured before the J-cops get involved here?

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How does a 4 year old get over the wall of a balcony though?

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Left alone?????? 4 years old?????? so sad. Pathetic pathetic parents. Please plaster their faces in the newspaper to display pathetic at its best. Why are there so many of these moronic parents?????

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I'm tired of the stupid Japanese parents in Japan. Not only did the kid fall out of the balcony, the common sense of the other 3 family members fell out of the balcony a while back too. WTF were they thinking! My prayers go out to this little angel.

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Too sad.

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Sounds fishy as hell.

Fishy? There's nothing fishy about it. It's plain neglect and stupidity.

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This will continue to happen until Japan starts to make parents pay for their criminally negligent actions in failing to safeguard their children. They should do a study based on child fatalities and ER admissions and publish it. It would be a big wake up call for Japanese just to see statistics from unbelted children in cars - especially when there's no accident involved, just kids flying around in the car after a hard braking.

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I'm waiting for the (you supply the word) who will come onto this thread and try to justify leaving a 4 year old kid home alone - if the child was in fact home alone instead of just ignored or being punished.

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They should do a study based on child fatalities and ER admissions and publish it. It would be a big wake up call for Japanese just to see statistics from unbelted children in cars

I agree! Even though Japan has made thier seat belt laws more stringent, I always see kids hopping around the back seat of cars all the time. Hell, I saw a mother holding her baby in her lap while driving this morning! She wouldn't roll her window down when I was trying to "inform" her on the bad choice she was making.

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I don't have kids, so maybe I'm a little ignorant, but isn't a four year-old too young to be left at home alone?

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Ditto to all the other comments. What a waste of a life. How depressing.

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@wontond

Exactly! You are not ignorant. You mentioned that you don't have kids, but you asked the main question that the parents should have been asking themselves.

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According to a different article I read, the mother was taking their 11-year old daughter to a hospital at that time.. 7:30 at night, the older daughter had to go to a hospital, I imagine she was pretty sick and it was an emergency, still, I would NOT leave a 4-year-old alone at home, though.. I wonder why the mom couldn't take the younger daughter along. I assume the father was still at work. RIP little angel...

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girl left alone with windows open.... parents will suffer for the rest of their lives.

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ok, here's the fact. The 11-year-old sister of this girl got sick and the mother took her to a nearby hospital around 6:40pm, the 4-year-old girl was sleeping in the living room so the mother left her there. The mother and the older sister returned home around 7:30pm, and that was about the time that the girl was found on the street by a passer-by.

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I say its real fishy because who on earth leaves the windows open in -2 weather that we had in Osaka last night?

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That's what sounded dodgy to me. Child left alone with the window left open in the middle of the freezing night, child goes outside and somehow jumps up and climbs over the wall of the balcony?

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Use some common sense. The windows were closed, and the little girl opened them. Younger kids have done the same.

Love all the presumptuous commenters here who don't know the facts of the case and accuse the parents of being out partying, etc..

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I'm a little ignorant, but isn't a four year-old too young to be left at home alone?

You are not ignorant. Yes, 4 years old is too young to be left alone. It does not matter if the parents were partying, playing pachinko or taking another child to the hospital. It does nto matter.

When yuo leave a 4 year old unsupervised, this story is not a surprising result. There si your answer.

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Wake the four year old up and take her. Who care if she misses a little sleep or screams her head off for being woken up. You are the boss not the child. The headline should include "Mother Charged."

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i blame the parents. they shouldnt have left her alone even if the older daughter was taken to the hospital

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Hey, whats the big deal? This is Japan. The folks will simply have another pet, I mean kid.

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I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound heartless, but I don't care how remorseful or broken up this mother is, this (and the other weekly occurrences) was an entirely preventable incident. The mother deserves to do some prison time - pour encourager les autres - only that consequence or the loss of their children to child welfeare services is going to drive home the point to Japanese mothers that you don't leave young children unattended.

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i guess the little girl had no idea where her mom and sister was when she woke up, and she started looking for them... i cant imagine how terrible the mother must be feeling and also the older sister might be feeling guilty of getting sick, but really, it was her fault. i am sorry to blame on someone who is probably blaming on her more than anyone else, but there have been tons of cases where little kids left alone at home were killed by accident..

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This story is incredible.Surely the law about home alone is 14 (NZ Law) or something close? How about your countries? 5-7 years for the mother.Starting today.

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michael.. i dont think there is a "home alone law" in japan.. technically, you can leave a newborn alone at home and that isnt a crime :(

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NO JAIL TIME- but sign document never to get pregnant again. The balcony doors does not a have child proof mechanism. My dog can open doors, so I believe this 4yr old girl opened the door and dreamed of flying. Maybe she wondered where her mother and sister was when she woke up????? Maybe she panicked, opened the balcony doors and tried to look for her mom. ” Where’s mommy ? ” When I was sick, my mother took all of us to the hospital at that age. When my sister was sick I had to go to the hospital even though I didn't want to go. Everywhere is dangerous for a child that age the mother should have known better. It's a hassle to bring kids any where these days. But the mother should be held responsible for this. Alot of weird mothers out there.

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technically, you can leave a newborn alone at home and that isnt a crime

give me some of what you are smoking too. Japan has child neglect laws, but they are not black and white with ages on them. They are case by case judgements.

If anyone has ever been to Japanese hospital, where people go with a runny nose, you know a reasonable time to go and come back would be at least 2 hours.

She will be punished, but Japanese courts are also lax on people killing their own kids, as opposed to killing other kids so 1 year or even a suspended sentence might be the result.

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ahocchau - i looked around many japanese articles and websites and there is no mention of home-alone-law and yes you are right about japan having child neglect laws, but just because you leave your small kids at home alone, you do not get arrested in japan. i am not saying it is right, i do think it isn't safe and kids should not be left alone, but the reality is that there is no punishment for that in japan and clearly, most japanese people do not know what the "rule" is if there is any.. what we all should have is a "common sense" and in this case, the mother did not have enough common sense to wake up the girl and take her with them to the hospital. sad.

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Its a tragic accident. I am amazed at the amount of small children who take public transport alone to school etc. For a detail focused and organized culture, the lack of accident prevention awareness is counter-intuitive.

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Its a tragic accident

I call it criminal neglect, not an accident.

fishy: regarding laws, the "home alone" applies to child neglect in Japan, they just don't call it "home alone" like you do. Leaving a child home alone is implied neglect.

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Are the parents going to be charged? This is a crime! A four year old is to young to be along.

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For a lot of people posting here, even ones without children, we automatically ask the question, "Can we leave a 4 year old home alone?". We, that is the posters here, seem to have some common sense, and know that the answer to that question is most definitely "No". For the rate of incidents like this, remember the little boy drowned in a puddle last week, it is clear that Japanese parents don't have the same level of common sense. A law which defines ages and some types of neglect with minimum prison sentences might help these parents do the right thing. However, when news media reporting fails to inform the public that a parent is charged with neglect and face #years in prison, nobody will learn. Besides a law, maybe the news media should, with out question, print the full name and approximate location of the parents and family members. Parents would be more inclined to do the right thing for fear of the public humiliation if an accident should occur.

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Japan is a signatory of many international conventions which aim to protect the rights of children. There are provisions which punish acts that harm children, both in special laws and in the Criminal Code. There is a juvenile justice system which is separated from the normal criminal justice system. http://www.loc.gov/law/help/child-rights/japan.php

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http://www.crc-japan.net/english/contents/law/index.html Article 2. (Definition of Child Abuse)

In this law, "child abuse" shall mean one or another of the following acts done to a child (a person under 18 years of age, both here and hereinafter), by a guardian (a person exerting parental authority or another person acting as caretaker of a minor having actual custody of the child; the same shall apply hereinafter):

Physical abuse resulting in bodily injury to a child, or violent acts deemed to result in such injury.

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This is not a problem solely in Japan, this happens worldwide. In the US there are PLENTY of incidences where kids are left alone for long periods of time, especially when the mother is a drug addict. The difference is that in many of our home countries this is a crime that carries real consequences, you could lose your kids for neglect. That doesn't seem to happen here. For those of you who say that this woman will face legal sanction, I can tell you that she won't.

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Unbelievable....WTF...? You do go out and leave your kids home alone and something happens... In civilized countries, YOU GO TO JAIL!

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Then what about the 4,5,6 year olds who travel public transport (i.e. subway in Tokyo) to school each day? Is that somehow different than leaving a kid at home?

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Is there another story somewhere that gives more details regarding where the family went? People keep mentioning that the family was out because they were at the hospital; that isn't mentioned in the story above...am interested in reading the story with more details. Anyone have the link?

There have been many stories where things happen to kids with parents nearby but they took their eyes off their kids for a second, etc....many posters judge those parents far too harshly; sometimes things happen in the blink of an eye and could happen to anyone. But stories like this??!!! Just blatent stupidity and inexcusable. You just don't leave a toddler at home all alone!! Same with the mother who left her kid in the park with dogs in another news story. You don't ever leave your kids for any amount of time where they cannot be watched!!!

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Just wait till summer, then they will be a stream of stories were parents lock their kids in the car, while they go play pachinko, resulting in the children's death from heat stroke.... These are acts of neglect no worse than drink driving, and they now have public informercials on tv about that, but they don't them for child abuse/neglect..... If any of you are from the UK, last time I was over that way nearly every 30 minutes on tv there was an informercial about child abuse/neglect.

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I can remember being four years old. I would not have climbed on or over the balcony wall - I would have used the stairs.

Perhaps the girl was sleeping and the mother thought she got be back from the hospital before she woke?

A passerby finding the girl's body at about the same time as the mother returned - coincidence?

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14 years old is about right for home alone yeah? Give me strength. What is wrong with this country. It is not just the fact that an accident may occur. It is stressful for little children to wake up and find themself alone.

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Takuma7: nice in doing your homework but after spending anytime here you certainly know what is law and what actually happens is different. See the story about 200 hours of overtime working and dying. Yes what about the labor laws?

I can tell you she will be punished very slightly if at all. Simply because it is her own child, and the Japanese have a "as long as you keep it in the family" attitude toward crime. If it were someone else's kid then it is a different story.

Strange, you would think they want to protect children here with the old society and shrinking pension...

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I do not think it is against the law here, but on the American bases it sure is.

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When my 6 month old bairn came down with an extremely high fever,I woke up my twin 4 year olds and dragged the whole bunch of us over to the nearest available hospital late at night. It didn't even enter my head to leave them alone.I have never ever left them alone.No matter how hard it was logistically or how much of an inconvenience,we are always together. They are so precious to me,I would never take a chance that could put them in a dangerous situation. Anything can happen,earthquake,fire,a madman breaking in,the child choking,waking up alone in an empty apartment must be terrifying for a young child.I am speechless. Poor little girl.

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they treat children lower than dogs

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Tumbled off the balcony............you dont tumble off a 9th floor balcony you fall straight down. Tumble means to roll over and over implying some horizontal movement at least. This little girl fell straight down and like a little kitten was still alive after she hit. Sadly she aint no little kitten. Have to say peoples. 4 year olds are intelligent enough not to climb railings high up. They just dont do it. Suspicious.

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michaelqtodd no its not the leaving the child alone in a secure home that is the issue here in my mind. I think 4 year olds are vastly more independent and intelligent than people think. The issue here regards the mothers involvement at the crime scene. That scene being the balcony. The edge of it if you like.

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This is infuriating and heartbreaking. I'm not a mother but any person with any sense at all would never leave a 4-year-old at home alone; or anywhere alone. It certainly doesn't help matters that many fathers don't come home until late at night but there is NO excuse for what this mother did.

She should have people or other mothers in the community that she can turn to in case of an emergency. And this didn't even sound like an emergency. A quick trip to the doctor cause her other child had a cold or something? NO excuse.

As other posters have said, the problem in Japan is that no action is taken against the neglectful parent(s) and so no one really seems to take neglect or abuse seriously...until their child ends up dead. Something more must be done to save children from such a horrible fate.

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Will all the authors of harsh comments about the parents please take a moment and realize that you are talking about real people? The parents must be feeling an unbearable pain right now that will probably never completely leave them. Would you say these things right to their faces? Hopefully they don't read this website, so they won't see your ugly comments...

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This type of thing is really heart rendering and also becoming regular news in JT. RIP little angel. @MissingJapan: whatever you say this is absolutely result of carelessness of the parent who is totally unaware of their little one.

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Terrible story. RIP. Well, apparently perception of “common sense” is totally different from readers of JT and some Japanese parents

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@MissingJapan - whether or not they are feeling this unbearable pain, they NEVER should have left a four year old alone first off. Then on top of that, why was the balcony door left anywhere near open. If you're 9 stories up, with children, you NEVER leave the balcony door open, or able to be opened if you're not paying attention. YOU (THE PARENT) should be the only one able to open that door period. Then you leave the house, WITHOUT YOUR FOUR YEAR OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That makes ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE. No matter how long you were going to be gone for. SHE WAS 4!!!!!!

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Not to mention, as masterkun05 said, most 4 year olds are smart enough to not climb on that. They have the concept of too high, they might fall. So the story that is being told here is not only ignorant, but a lil fishy. How some people are smart enough to figure out how to reproduce, and yet dumb enough to not care for them properly, or to then get tired of caring for them and do the unthinkable; is infinately dumbfounding. I cannot fathom even contemplating leaving my daughter alone in my house. And I'm on the ground.......

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MissingJapan...You know sometimes you've got to get ugly to make people wake up to reality. Unbearable pain? You mean like the unbearable pain that wee 4 year old must have felt lying on the cold ground after the fall. Calling out for help when none was there.This whole thing was totally preventable. Totally.When I hear about parents losing kids to an illness,an accident caused by another..yes,my heart goes out to them.I cannot even imagine the horror they must be going through but this mother....A few weeks ago, a mum from our youchien was cycling with the two kids on board.The little 2 year old in the back seat fell off and got her arm tangled in the back wheel's spokes.She broke her arm in the fall and was lucky a passing car didn't hit her.Straps in the seats.The mother didn't use them.Saw her today,2 year old with the cast on,those straps blowing open in the wind.Naivety,stupidity,indifference....whatever it is,it just leaves me speechless.

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so sad >_< where is her parents to leave her and let this happen!!!

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