Tokyo – Police arrested Kasumi Nawata, a Japanese woman in Osaka, Japan, for allegedly starving her eight-year-old daughter to hospital and fraudulently claiming insurance payments.
The girl’s mother is suspected to have told her daughter not to eat and to give laxatives. The alleged forced starvation and malnutrition are suspected to have caused the daughter to develop ketotic hypoglycemia leading to hospitalization. Daito city officials said Nawata told the school that her daughter had an incurable disease and Yahoo! According to , he needs to be admitted to the hospital regularly to get the test done. News Japan.
However, when the police contacted medical institutions, they found no evidence that the daughter had ever been diagnosed with such an illness. The police suspect that the mother told the school so that they would not find out about the abuse.
Investigators believe the mother regularly starved her daughter, hospitalized her 43 times for a total of 332 days since spring 2018 and then collected nearly $40,000 in insurance benefits from three institutions, the Japan Times report said.
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Prefectural police had previously arrested Nawata three times between March and June, leading to two charges of “suspected of causing her daughter hypoglycemia, forcing her daughter to consume laxatives and causing bodily harm”.
The alarm was raised when the daughter was admitted to the hospital in early February, after a nurse overheard a conversation between the daughter and her mother.
According to Yahoo! News Japan, Nawata, frustrated with his daughter, reportedly told her to “Don’t eat! Just sleep!” Nuta said while admonishing her daughter.
The incident at the hospital helped Nawata in the police investigation. However, there was another incident from October 2022 that child welfare officials ignored and did not report to law enforcement agencies.
Fuji News Network (FNN) reported that Dato City Hall received an anonymous tip of suspected abuse in October 2022, which led to Navata’s first arrest. The informant believed that the frequent hospitalizations were due to the mother’s failure to feed her daughter properly.
Kazuhisa Takahashi, deputy director and director of the Office for Children and Families, Welfare and Children’s Department at Daito City Hall, told the Fuji News Network that he believed his agency’s response was “appropriate.” The day after the first anonymous tip, the department reported the concern to the child’s school.
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“The authorities acted slowly and inappropriately,” Victoria Shirota, who serves as the director of Michelle Club, an NPO serving disadvantaged families in Japan, told Fox News Digital. Shirota assisted Japanese child welfare services in domestic violence cases. Shirota noted that personnel looking after children and identifying domestic abuse need proper training and that the law needs to be changed.
“Japan doesn’t have joint custody and has a strict policy on family units, so it’s quite difficult to take a child away from an abusive parent, especially if it’s a single mother.”
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On February 9, Navata’s daughter was placed under Child Protective Services, where police and Dito City reported that she was eating three meals a day and was healthy.
Nawata has denied the allegations against him, telling Japanese media that he did not intentionally hurt his daughter, nor did he attempt to fraudulently collect money that was meant for the child from the insurance company.
Fox News’ Peter Petrov contributed to this report.