Dead-babies case presents Japan with a fresh horror
Friday 27 October 1995
It was left to the police and pathologists to work out what the horror was: the bodies of seven babies, sealed in vinyl bags. The apartment in the dormitory town of Kashiwa, north-east of Tokyo, had been rented by a taxi-driver and his wife.
In June she died of uterine cancer and two months later her husband disappeared. In the nine years the couple had lived in the apartment the woman had never appeared pregnant, said neighbours. The bodies were judged to have been dead for at least a decade. The couple had apparently moved in carrying with them a bag of dead babies.
It seemed like a ghastly freak occurrence - until last weekend, when an equally grim and incredible discovery was made in a company nursery in Tokyo. An employee called the police after detecting a strange smell in the building: in a closet were found five paper bags containing eight infant corpses wrapped in plastic, ranging in age from a few days to a few months.
Yukiko Mikami, 43 , married and with two daughters, had worked part-time in the creche until last year. She was arrested, allegedly confessed and was charged with abandoning the babies. Yesterday two more tiny bodies were discovered in a trunk at her home. She told police all the children were her own.
What do these two dreadful incidents mean? Infanticide has never appeared to be a particular problem in modern Japan, although during the famines of the feudal period it was common for children to be smothered, or exposed, simply to conserve food for their older siblings.
Details of both cases have still not emerged and when they do, will no doubt be thoroughly picked over. The most obvious conclusion is that Japanese society is rapidly becoming as splintered and alienated as that of most industrialised countries - a place where babies can be born, left to die, and remain completely unnoticed.
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 What supermodels really think about posing in the nude
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Black teen in critical condition after store employee 'shoots him for stealing 79-cent pack of cookies'
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
Father faces deportation to Thailand after 27 years in Britain for two 'stupid crimes'
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£25000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's premier supplie...
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...