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Japan

Japanese woman arrested after dumping four babies in buckets, which she filled with concrete and kept for more than 20 years

She told police she dumped the dead babies between 1992 and 1997, saying she did not have money to raise them

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 November, 2017, 10:49am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 21 November, 2017, 10:42pm

A Japanese woman was arrested Tuesday after police say she confessed to putting four newborns in concrete-filled buckets two decades ago and having been filled with guilt over not caring for her babies.

Human remains were identified in four buckets found in her condominium, an Osaka police official said.

Mayumi Saito, 53, was arrested Tuesday on charges of abandoning bodies, a day after she turned herself in at the police station.

Saito was quoted by police as saying she put the bodies into concrete from 1992 through 1997 because she had been too poor to raise them, but she had been filled with guilt over the years.

Saito had a part-time job, but details of her work, family and comments were not available.

The causes of the babies’ deaths were unclear. It is fairly standard in Japan for criminal charges to be added later as an investigation progresses.

Although Japan is the world’s third-largest economy and has a reputation as being economically advanced, poverty remains a problem, especially among women.

Social support such as affordable day care is lacking for women to work while child-rearing, as well as to get counselling and other help to cope with parenting duties and mental stress.

“I did not think I could afford to raise them. I had no one to talk to,” she told police, according to national broadcaster NHK.

It is unclear why she turned herself in now, local media said.

Saito came forward three weeks after police arrested Takahiro Shiraishi, 27, dubbed the “Twitter killer”, who has confessed to killing and dismembering nine people he met via social media.

Investigators found him in his flat just outside Tokyo surrounded by the festering remains of his victims inside coolers and containers.

Associated Press, Agence France-Presse