FULL TEXT (Article 1 of 2): Tokyo, Friday: – “The news papers and TV claimed that the whole place stank terribly,” the landlord of the small apartment building said. “But there was no smell at all. In the messiest room I found a bag, and it was only when I opened it that the smell came out, and after that — horror.”
It was left to the police and pathologists to work out exactly what the horror was: the bodies of seven dead babies, carefully sealed into vinyl bags.
The cheap apartment, in the anonymous dormitory town of Kashiwa, north-east of Tokyo, had been rented by a local taxi driver and his wife. Last June, she died of uterine cancer; two months later, her husband disappeared with 10 months’ rent unpaid. She had never appeared to be pregnant in the nine years the couple had lived there, ac cording to neighbours.
The babies, moreover, were judged to have been dead for at least a decade. The mysterious couple had apparently moved to their new home carrying with them a bag of dead babies.
It seemed like a ghastly freak – until last weekend, when an equally grim discovery was made in a company nursery in Tokyo. An employee called police after noticing a strange smell. Inside a cupboard were five paper bags containing eight plastic-wrapped infant corpses, ranging in age from a few days to a few months. Yukiko Mika mi, a married 43-year-old mother of two daughters, had worked in the creche as a part-time nurse until last year.
She was arrested, confessed and was charged with abandoning the babies. Yesterday, two more were discovered in a trunk at her home. She has told police that all the children were her own.
What do the incidents mean? Infanticide has never appeared to be a problem in modern Japan, although during the famines of the feudal period it was common for children to be smothered or exposed simply to conserve food for their siblings. These days rates of legal abortion are low, but the true figure is believed to be much higher largely because of the lack of efficient contraception.
Japanese Buddhism has a special deity, Jizo, who watches over and protects the souls of mizuko, as they are called — miscarried or aborted children — and most neighbourhoods contain a small shrine to him.
Details of both cases have still not emerged, and will no doubt be thoroughly picked over when they do by Japan’s sensational weekly magazines. The most obvious conclusion seems to be that Japanese society is becoming as splintered as that of most industrialised countries – a place where babies could be born, left to die, and remain completely unnoticed.
[Richard Lloyd Parry, “Horror in Japan as long-dead babies found in bags,” from The Independent (London, England), The Canberra Times (Australia), Oct. 28, 1995, p. 10]
Tokyo – Police searching the home of a woman arrested in the deaths of eight babies found two dead infants there today.
The bodies were found in a trunk in a closet at the woman's apartment in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
Police wouldn’t discuss the discovery in detail.
They had arrested Yukiko Mikami on Tuesday after the remains of eight babies were found at a Tokyo nursery where she once worked. The bodies, wrapped in plastic, were found in a paper bag.
A note on the bag said, “I will come to pick up it later.”
Mrs. Mikami says she is the mother of the eight babies. Police would not say whether she also claims to be the mother of the two dead infants found today.
Mrs. Mikami, 43, is married and has two daughters. She last worked at the nursery in 1994.
[“Two More Dead Babies Found, Total Climbs to 10,” Oct. 26, 1995]
For more cases of this type, see Serial Baby-Killer Moms.