Photo/IllutrationThe apartment building where Mia Kurihara's body was found in Noda, Chiba Prefecture, in late January (Ryo Takeda)

The father of a 10-year-girl who died in a horrific case of child abuse apparently took footage on a smartphone of him meting out beatings to his daughter.

Police said a memory stick owned by Yuichiro Kurihara could offer strong direct evidence that his physical abuse led to the death of his daughter, Mia, in Noda, Chiba Prefecture.

Sources said the footage shows Mia being beaten, apparently by her 41-year-old father. Another scene shows her slumped on the floor.

Mia was found dead in the bathroom of her home in late January. Her parents have been arrested on suspicion of inflicting bodily harm.

Police are continuing their analysis of the footage, which they believe was taken either by Yuichiro or his wife, Nagisa, 31.

Immediately after his arrest, Yuichiro told police that he was only trying to discipline Mia and that he never intended to harm her. He said he did not believe he had done anything wrong.

However, sources said Yuichiro has more recently refused to answer questions put to him by investigators.

Nagisa has told the police that her husband had a history of physically abusing Mia, and used to force her to stand for prolonged periods and wake her up in the middle of the night.

Nagisa told police that she did not attempt to stop her husband. She added that she ordered Mia not to go outdoors when Yuichiro was not at home and reported to her husband what had taken place while he was away. Nagisa also said there were times when she did not feed her daughter.

As police put together a case against the couple, the parents have been accused of conspiring to abuse Mia at home between 10 a.m. and 11:10 p.m. on Jan. 24 by pulling her hair, giving her a cold shower and grabbing her by her neck, causing severe bruising.