Japan woman arrested for leaving baby's body in locker

A coin locker in Roppongi station in Tokyo Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The woman had dumped her baby in a coin locker and continued paying the storage fees for years

Tokyo police have arrested a 49-year-old woman suspected of leaving her stillborn baby in a coin locker for several years.

Emiri Suzaki turned herself in to the police and confessed that she had stored the body since suffering a stillbirth "four or five" years ago.

Officers later found the decaying body of an infant wrapped up in a plastic bag in a locker at a Tokyo station.

Suzaki continued paying the locker storage fees throughout the years.

"I panicked after I did not give birth to a living child and kept the body as I could not dispose of it," she told police officers when she turned herself in, according to Kyodo News.

Ms Suzaki had abandoned the baby at a coin locker near the Uguisudani Station, a railway station in Tokyo, some "four or five" years ago, reported the Japan Times.

But she continued paying the locker fee, which according to news outlet the Asahi Shimbun is $1.80 (£1.37) per 24 hours.

If the unpaid amount exceeds $8.86 (£6.73) the locker operator is allowed to empty the locker and check its contents.

Suzaki, who is unemployed, turned herself in on Monday after she left the home of a male acquaintance where she had been staying after an argument.

She forgot to take the locker key with her when she left and was afraid her friend might discover the body.

She was arrested on suspicion of abandoning a body. Police believe the body was abandoned shortly after the baby was born, and are currently investigating the cause of death.

It is not clear what the circumstances of the stillbirth were.

'Very traumatic'

Cassandra Chiu, a counsellor at The Safe Harbour Counselling Centre in Singapore, told the BBC that stillbirths can cause grief that is so heightened and long-lasting that it becomes difficult for the individual to resume their normal life.

"Usually if your loved one who has been suffering through illness passes away or if your elderly parents pass on, where you have a period of time already to start the grief process, you would suffer from normal grief," she said.

"But having a stillbirth is very different, no one expects to have a death after delivering a baby. I think it's obvious she was suffering from complicated grief."

"There are a lot of questions about why she had no family support and we don't know if there's any other underlying stress in her life, but we can surmise it must have been something very traumatic for her," Ms Chiu added.

This is not the first time a body has been found in a station locker in Japan. Coin-operated lockers are found across most train stations in the country.

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