Japanese parents accused of attempted manslaughter over malnourished kids
Japanese couple Noriku and Hidufun M. from Molenschot in Noord-Brabant are facing attempted manslaughter charges for seriously neglecting and starving six of their seven children. The Public Prosecution Service demanded prison sentences of 4 years and 3 years and 10 months against them respectively, AD reports.
The 40-year-old father and 39-year-old mother were arrested at the end of June last year, after their one malnourished child was found in Limburg. The boy was skin and bones, and had to be admitted to hospital. He told the police: "Daddy is always very angry and Mommy is always tired."
The couple have seven children - three from the father, three from the mother, and one they had together. Six of the children were taken to Japan after their parents' arrest and are now being cared for by their grandparents. The seventh child, a baby, is cared for by a foster family in the Netherlands.
When the couple was arrested, their children were very malnourished and sick. They were regularly denied food, locked up in a shed or in their bedroom, forced to cycle long distances to school, and had to do a lot of the house work. "The children were in a serious condition, they would not have lasted much longer", the Public Prosecutor said during the first hearing in this case in September last year.
At school the children begged classmates for food, or stole it, the judge said in court on Thursday. They were also seen digging through rubbish bins for something to eat. One child told at school that hunger kept him awake at night and that they only got two slices of dry bread for lunch.
When asked for an explanation, the parents told the police that they were consciously raising their children with healthy food, which meant they got no sugars. When one child showed up at school covered in bruises, the father said he had fallen from his bicycle. "I was thrown through the room by my father, thrown against the wall and beaten in the face. Mother stood by and did nothing", is what the child said happened, according to the court.
The man and woman blame each other for their children's condition. "It was her way of education and I did not dispute. I now regret that", the man said in court. He said that the children were sometimes not given food for days as a punishment. If they snuck food from the fridge, they were locked up in a cupboard for days. "We took snacks, but not the children."
The woman blames the father. "He was the boss, he didn't give the children food as punishment", she said in court. "I didn't agree, but I wasn't against it either." In May last year, the children were locked up for seven weeks and only received food sporadically, she said. According to the mother, she "did not have time" to think about the situation and does not know whether the children were hungry.
The mother's lawyer argued that she was also the victim of domestic violence and that she is psychologically ill. "It is not that the children did not get any food at all, they did not get the right healthy food", the lawyer said, according to the newspaper.
The Public Prosecution argued that the parents accepted the chance that their children might die as a result of how they were treated. That is attempted manslaughter, the Prosecutor said.