Mother Gets 30 Years in Prison for Letting Her Children Starve to Death

This news story reminds me of a Japanese movie I watched a few years back called Nobody Knows.

The film was inspired by the 1988 Sugamo child abandonment case. Although, the children’s names from the actual event were never released; they were known as Children A, B, C, D, and E. They were left alone for approximately nine months.

It tells the story of four children in Tokyo: Kyoko, Akira, Yuki and Shigeru, aged between five and twelve years old. They are all half-siblings, each of them having different fathers. Their mother locks them away in a tiny apartment then runs off to get married and never returns. After they are abandoned, they are forced to survive on their own and rely on each other to face all of life’s challenges.

For months, the youngsters lived alone and no one in the apartment complex even knew the children were there.

Unfortunately, another real-life event has just taken place in western Osaka. Japan Today reported that a 25-year-old single mother has just been sentenced to 30 years in prison after both of her children died from abandonment.

Back in March 2010, Sanae Nakamura began locking both her daughter, 3, and her one-year-old son, in her apartment while she stayed with her boyfriend, sometimes for days at a time. And in June that year, she stopped coming home all together.

When she finally did decide to come home, she returned to find both of her children surrounded by piles of rubbish and starved to death.

Japan’s supreme court has just upheld a sentence that was decided upon during earlier hearings in the lower courts. Their decision was based upon the fact that she was aware leaving her children alone without sufficient food would cause their deaths. This haunting story of child abuse bears certain similarities to that of the case of naive and selfish Rie Fujii, a Japanese woman who left her two toddlers alone for ten days while she frolicked around with her boyfriend in Canada.

Her two children died of starvation and dehydration during that time. Fujii was later arrested and charged with second degree murder.