#childabuse | Yua Funato’s stepfather sentenced to 13-year term in fatal child abuse case

In a high-profile case, 34-year-old Yudai Funato was sentenced to 13 years in prison by the Tokyo District Court on Tuesday for physical abuse and neglect that led to the death of his 5-year-old stepdaughter, Yua.

Funato was accused of causing the Yua’s death from sepsis in March of last year. Funato allegedly restricted her food intake, assaulted her and did not seek medical care despite her weakened state while at their home in Meguro Ward, Tokyo.

He had admitted to most of the charges. The prosecutors had sought an 18-year prison term, while the defense had argued that a nine-year term would be appropriate.

Yua weighed about 12 kilograms when she died, far less than the 20-kg average for her age, and had 170 injuries, according to the prosecutors.

The prosecutors alleged Funato gave the girl tasks such as telling her to wake up at 4 a.m., and shouted at her and grew violent when she did not obey.

Yua’s 27-year-old mother Yuri, now divorced from Funato, was given an eight-year prison sentence in September for parental neglect resulting in the girl’s death. The court acknowledged that the woman had suffered psychological abuse by Funato.

The defense team had argued that Funato, who has also been charged with marijuana possession, “set high standards for his family and began to snap at them.”

The girl’s death on March 2, 2018, attracted nationwide attention, and prompted Japan to enact revised laws in June this year banning parents and other guardians from physically punishing children. The revised laws also strengthening the ability of child welfare centers to intervene in cases when abuse is suspected.

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