Japanese mom's insurance scam puts minor daughter in hospital 43 times

By India Today World Desk: A Japanese woman has been arrested by the police on charges of starving and abusing her eight-year-old daughter with the intention of hospitalising her and making fraudulent insurance claims.

An investigation revealed that the girl’s mother, Kasumi Nawata from Osaka, was suspected of instructing her daughter not to eat and feeding her laxatives.

This forced starvation and malnutrition allegedly led to the daughter developing ketotic hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels or urine ketones in some children if they don’t eat for a long time), allowing her to be frequently hospitalised.

Nawata had informed her daughter’s school that the child suffered from an intractable disease and required regular hospitalisation for tests.

However, after checking with medical institutions, the police found no evidence of such a diagnosis, raising suspicions that Nawata made this claim to prevent the school from suspecting abuse.

According to a Japan Times report, the mother had allegedly starved her daughter on multiple occasions, resulting in the girl being hospitalised 43 times since spring 2018, totalling 332 days, and obtaining approximately USD 40,000 in insurance benefits from three institutions.

From March to June, the prefectural police arrested Nawata three times on suspicion of causing her daughter to have hypoglycemia, forcing her daughter to take laxatives and causing bodily harm.

The Osaka District Public Prosecutors’ Office has indicted her twice on charges of bodily harm, reported Japan Times.

The authorities became aware of the situation when a nurse overheard a conversation between the daughter and her mother during a hospital visit in February. The incident led to further investigations by the police.

However, there was a previous incident in October 2022 that went unnoticed by child welfare officials and was not reported to law enforcement.

According to Fuji News Network (FNN), an anonymous tip was received by Daito City Hall in October 2022, suspecting abuse, which resulted in Nawata’s initial arrest. Child welfare authorities reported the concern to the child’s school the day after receiving the tip.

Japan’s strict policies regarding family units and custody arrangements can make it challenging to remove a child from an abusive parent, particularly in single-mother cases.

However, on February 9, Nawata’s daughter was placed under the care of child protective services, where she is reportedly receiving proper care, eating three meals a day, and is in good health.

Nawata has denied all allegations against her, asserting that she did not intentionally cause harm to her daughter or attempt to fraudulently claim insurance money meant for the child.

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