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Mayor of Yokohama ‘heartbroken’ after emergence of suspected child neglect case

Satoshi Tanaka and Kaho Hashimoto
Satoshi Tanaka and Kaho Hashimoto (Twitter)

KANAGAWA (TR) – The Mayor of Yokohama expressed sadness on Wednesday following the arrest of a 22-year-old woman and her live-in boyfriend over the suspected neglect of her 3-year-old daughter at their residence in Yokohama.

On Sunday night, police working off a tip entered the residence of Kaho Hashimoto, of no known occupation, and Satoshi Tanaka, 21, in Tsurumi Ward and found her daughter barely conscious with severe burns to her back.

“It is so tragic. I am truly heartbroken,” said Fumiko Hayashi, the Mayor of Yokohama, at a press conference, according to Fuji News Network (Mar. 6). “For this case, we will thoroughly examine the situation and take appropriate action.”

Hashimoto and Tanaka, who were accused of abandonment as guardians on Monday, admit to the allegations, according to the Tsurumi Police Station. During questioning, they said they “went to play pachinko” at around noon on Sunday.

In explaining the burns suffered by her daughter, Hashimoto said, “I mistakenly turned on the hot water when giving her a shower. I covered the burns with [plastic] wrap after taking a look on the internet.”

The injuries to the girl are expected to require three months of medical care, police said previously.

Given her age, the body of girl seemed thinner than normal, which has led police to suspect that she was regularly neglected by her mother and Tanaka.

Fumiko Hayashi
Fumiko Hayashi

“Becoming irritated”

At another press conference held on Tuesday, the city of Yokohama said that Hashimoto and the child moved from Soka City, Saitama Prefecture to Yokohama last May.

Also living in the residence in Hashimoto’s 5-year-old son. In November, relatives of the suspect consulted with a child consultation center after they became concerned about the welfare of her children after the suspect spanked one of them.

“I spanked [the child] after becoming irritated,” Hashimoto reportedly said during an interview with the center.

In late December, the nursery school where the suspect’s son is enrolled contacted the city of Yokohama after he stopped attending. A Tsurumi Ward staff member then visited the suspect’s resident. However, nothing out of the ordinary was observed regarding the children.

Satoshi Tanaka and Kaho Hashimoto
Satoshi Tanaka and Kaho Hashimoto

“Mom is not around”

On the day of the incident, the son of Hashimoto visited the residence of a neighbor. “Mom is not around,” he reportedly said while shivering in his pajamas. “I want to see [her].”

After he led the neighbor back to the residence, he told the neighbor, “My younger sister’s skin is peeling.” In response, the neighbor said, “Did her skin suffer an injury?” The boy did not respond.

The landlord for the residence then arrived. After being unable to reach Hashimoto by telephone, the neighbor alerted police.

Officers entered the unlocked residence and found the girl sleeping on a futon with the plastic wrap covering the length of her back.

Police began questioning Hashimoto and Tanaka when they returned at just before 9:00 p.m. that same day.