After the death of a 2-year old boy while under the care of a babysitter, the government is now looking into ways that online babysitting websites may be monitored to prevent a similar incident from happening.
The 22-year old single mother of two boys who has work at night contacted a babysitting website to look for a sitter that would take care of the children for a few days. Their mother handed 2-year old Riku Yamada and his 8-month old brother to an unidentified man who represented the babysitting company at the Shinsugita Station last Friday night. After which, the man turned over the two children to 26-year old Yuji Motte, who would be the one to take care of the children, and brought them to his apartment in Fujimi, Saitama Prefecture. The mother called for help from the police after the man failed to show up at the assigned time last Sunday to return the children. Heading to Motte’s apartment, they found Riku dead and his younger brother, who seemed unharmed. An autopsy on Riku showed that he died of suffocation. Motte was taken into custody and told police at the initial questioning that he had fallen asleep after drinking medicine last Sunday. When he woke up, he saw Riku lifeless already.
The incident prompted the Health Ministry to take measures to prevent such incidents from happening again. Speaking at a news conference, Health, Labor and Welfare Minister Norihisa Tamura said that the ministry would probe further into the matter regarding babysitting matching websites. Issues on management by brokers of the babysitters’ names, addresses, experiences and insurance coverage will be dealt with. He noted that all babysitters must undergo a screening process to determine their capability. While Motte has a website for his babysitting services, which markets his apartment as a child care facility, it is not registered in the prefectural government. The incident also brought up the issue of single mothers who rely on babysitting services for their children while they go to work, because of day-care center shortages.
[via Japan Today]