Japan is currently reeling in shock over the starvation deaths of two small children by their 23-year-old mother, a sex-worker. According to news reports, the young woman originally moved from a rural area to big-city Osaka after divorcing and breaking off all contact with her own family. She and her two babies lived in a one-room apartment provided by the sex club which the woman worked for, and the children were often left to fend for themselves. In June of this year she simply decided not to bother coming home any more. It was shortly after this that the neighbours heard the sounds of distressed young children crying, and some time after that noticed a rotten smell emanating from the apartment. Finally they contacted the child welfare authorities, who came and called on the apartment on at least five occasions without attempting to enter it.
Needless to say, it has now been discovered that the children, aged 3 and 1, starved to death on their own, even as social workers were banging on the door (and refusing to attempt to enter it, because of the Rules). The mother has since been apprehended, and has stated that she was overwhelmed with the responsibilities of childcare, and wanted to have some fun in life. So far she has shown little remorse.
It’s hard to decide where to apportion the blame here. Obviously the bulk of it should fall on the mother, who seems to have been little more than a child herself (not to mention her former husband). And what about the people who raised her? Obviously they did not do a good job of it, or of keeping in contact with their own grandchildren. Or how about the neighbours, who waited until the smell of rotting flesh had become unbearable before lodging formal complaints? Or the social workers who didn’t bother following through with a thorough investigation? Or the predatory sex club, that didn’t seem to care a fig about the young mother who worked for them as long as she showed up?
Or people like me, who walked past her apartment several times earlier this year without noticing anything amiss … or especially caring anyway.