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Japan abused child: Apology over death of Mia Kurihara

Japanese schoolgirls. File photo Image copyright AFP/Getty Images
Image caption Japanese schoolgirls. Archive photo

Officials in Japan have apologised for sharing a girl's plea for help from her abusive father with him, a year before she died at home covered in bruises.

Mia Kurihara, 10, was found dead last week in Noda city, near Tokyo. Her father, Yuichiro Kurihara, was later held on suspicion of assaulting her.

In 2017, the girl filled out what she thought was a confidential school form, saying her father beat her repeatedly.

The father obtained the form last year, after threatening legal action.

Japan has recently seen a surge in reported child abuse, with a record 37,113 suspected cases across the country in the first six months of 2018.

Several high-profile cases, including the death of a five-year-old girl last year, have shocked the nation.

What did the Japanese officials say?

At a news conference on Thursday, Noda's local education officials apologised for showing an "extreme lack of consideration" in Mia Kurihara's case.

The officials revealed that the girl had written in the questionnaire in November 2017 that her father used "violence", the Japan Times reports.

She had mentioned that her father would wake her up "in the middle of the night" and that he "kicks and beats me when I am awake".

"Can't you do anything about this?" the girl had asked in a desperate plea for help, the newspaper reports.

After this Mia Kurihara was placed in protective custody until late December 2017, when the measure was lifted on condition that she would live at a relative's home. But the girl moved back to her parents' house last March.

The officials admitted that they had given in to pressure from the girl's father, who managed to obtain a copy of the school questionnaire last January.

At Thursday's news conference, Noda Mayor Yu Suzuki said: "We apologise for not being able to save the life of a small child."

Child welfare experts have suggested that the way the officials handled the matter might have resulted in more serious abuse of the child at home.

The girl's father has made no public comment on the issue.

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