Stepfather gets 13 years in prison over fatal child abuse

A man 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.
Yudai Funato, 34, was accused of causing the death of his stepdaughter Yua from sepsis in March last year. Funato allegedly restricted her food intake, beat her up and did not seek medical care despite her weakened state while at their home in Tokyo's Meguro Ward.
The stepfather 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, received an eight-year prison term in September for parental neglect resulting in the girl's death. The court acknowledged the woman 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 and strengthening the ability of child welfare centers to intervene in cases when abuse is suspected.

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