IWATE (TR) – Following the arrest of a 25-year-old man who is suspected of starving his 1-year-old son to death in Kitakami City earlier this year, the government on Tuesday admitted a lapse in grasping the severity of the situation despite receiving warning signs beforehand, reports the Yomiuri Shimbun (June 5).
Ken Takadate, 25, a demolition worker, is alleged to have not given his son Yuto a sufficient amount of food, causing him to suffer from malnutrition and dehydration, prior to the confirmation of his death on April 9.
Takadate, who was arrested on suspicion of abandoning his responsibility as a parent, admits to the allegations.
According to police, Takadate left the boy at his residence, located in the Otsutsumi Minami area, on the morning of April 8 while he went out with friends. Upon his return at around 2:00 a.m. the following day, he found his son to be in ill health and alerted emergency services.
Emergency personnel arriving at the residence found the boy to be in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. He was later confirmed dead.
The boy weighed 8 kilograms at the time of his death at the age of 21 months. The average weight of a 2-year-old boy is 12.1 kilograms, police said.
Takadate separated from his wife, 39, about six months ago. “I am shocked,” said the woman, who lives near the suspect, according to the Sankei Shimbun (June 6).
At a press conference on Tuesday, the Kitakami City government office said the prefectural government informed them on February 27 about trouble regarding Yuto, which had been raised by the principal of the boy’s nursery school.
A staff member from the government office visited the residence of Takadate on three occasions in March. On March 16, the staff member observed Yuto and contacted his mother and the nursery school on the telephone. However, the suspect could not be reached. As well, messages left with him were not returned, according to the city.
On March 27, a teacher at the nursery school consulted with the government office about another concern related to Yuto. However, the suspect again could not be reached, the city said.
“I should have recognized that this was a crisis situation,” said Kensuke Takahashi, the head of the teaching division at the Kitakami City Board of Education at the press conference. “It was necessary to understand the actual situation and contact a [prefectural] child consultation center. I want to reflect upon and further examine [the matter].”