A 19-year-old Vietnamese technical trainee was arrested Thursday after the body of a baby boy was discovered in an empty lot in western Japan, local police said.
The woman, who submitted to voluntary questioning, lived near where the body was found in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, and is suspected of abandoning it between around December and Tuesday. According to an autopsy, the baby had been dead between one and four months.
Photo taken on April 20, 2023, shows the area where the body of a baby was found in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture. (Kyodo)
She has admitted to abandoning the body.
The 52-year-old president of the company where the woman works said, “I didn’t notice any signs of pregnancy because she was in winter outfit or work attire.”
The woman came to Japan in October and has been staying in the company’s dormitory. Six other Vietnamese women work for the company.
A local resident called the police after discovering the body of the baby lying naked and face down at around 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday. There were no external wounds on the body, according to the police.
The arrest comes after another Vietnamese trainee was acquitted by the Supreme Court last month for abandoning her stillborn twins.
Japan introduced the technical internship program in 1993, aiming to transfer knowledge and skills to developing countries. But the scheme has been criticized as providing cover for companies to import cheap labor from across Asia and allowing to create a hotbed for human rights abuses.
There have also been cases in which trainees have been forced to return to their home countries after giving birth, even though Japan prohibits the mistreatment of workers by law, including firing them on the grounds that they are pregnant or have delivered a child.
Japan top court acquits Vietnam trainee of abandoning stillborn twins