A woman confessed to the Osaka police that she set four of her newborn babies in concrete-filled buckets two decades ago, saying that she did it because she was too poor to care for them amid reports of slow ease in child poverty in the Asian country.
Poverty is a problem that can occur anywhere in the world, as even residents of technologically-advanced Japan are forced to make difficult decisions because of it. In fact, being poor drove 53-year-old Mayumi Saito to set her newborn children in concrete-filled buckets some 20 years ago.
According to the Associated Press, the 53-year-old Osaka resident told the police that she put four babies in buckets filled with concrete from 1992 to 1997 because she could not care for them due to her financial status. Overcome with guilt over the years, she then decided to pay for her crime by turning herself in.
Local law enforcement officers in Osaka, Japan arrested Saito on Tuesday for abandoning the bodies of her four infant children after locating the remains in buckets stored inside her condominium.
Based on the police investigation, Mayumi Saito had a part-time job, but details of her work and family background were not available.
Details related to the babies’ cause of death have not been uncovered yet, although criminal charges may be added later as the probe progresses, as allowed by Japanese law.
Japan currently holds the third spot as the world’s largest economy. Despite this, the country is facing two decades of economic decline, as proven by the emergence of child poverty, The Guardian reported in January.
According to the article, soup kitchens have emerged all over the nation to provide meals for an estimated 3.5 million poor children living in one of the world’s richest countries, making the problem more apparent.
“The poverty rate that we see today demonstrates just how difficult life has become for children in Japan over the last 25 years,” Japan Association of Child Poverty and Education Support Organizations Chairman Yasushi Aoto told the outlet.
“The poverty issue in Japan is completely neglected. We are a long way behind countries in the west in the way we tackle it.”
Based on a UNICEF report released in April, Japan is 34th out of 41 industrialized countries in terms of the worst wealth inequality and child poverty. On top of that, only 200,000 out of the 3.5 million poor children received state support.
In July, the Japan Times reported about the ease in child poverty in the country. However, the outlet noted that continued public support is still needed.
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