The mother of a 5-year-old girl who died after months of physical abuse at the hands of her stepfather and a near-starvation diet was sentenced to eight years in prison by a Tokyo court on Sept. 17.

In his ruling, Presiding Judge Minoru Morishita of the Tokyo District Court said, “It is impossible to imagine the victim’s suffering, sorrow and despair in the days leading up to her death as her beloved mother acquiesced to the extreme diet regimen.”

Prosecutors had sought an 11-year prison term for the mother, Yuri Funato.

Funato, 27, was indicted on a charge of parental neglect resulting in the death of her daughter Yua in March 2018 by allowing only miniscule portions of food to be served at mealtimes since late January.

She was also accused of tacitly going along with her husband Yudai's brutality against the girl.

Yua was Funato’s daughter from her previous marriage.

Yua died of septic poisoning on March 2. Her emaciated body bore numerous injuries.

Prosecutors argued that the couple caused the girl to lose about 4 kilograms over the two months since the family moved to Tokyo’s Meguro Ward in January 2018 from Kagawa Prefecture.

They also contended that the couple refused to take Yua to a hospital even after the girl vomited for several days in a row and her health sharply deteriorated.

Prosecutors also asserted that the couple gave priority to maintaining their relationship as husband and wife over the life of Yua by not allowing child welfare center workers to see the girl to prevent the abuse from being exposed.

Lawyers for Funato pleaded for leniency for their client on grounds she was a victim of psychological violence by Yudai. They said a five-year prison term was appropriate.

They argued that she was under the control of Yudai and harangued by him for hours each day, with the result that she turned a blind eye to the violence being inflicted against Yua.

They said Funato felt she had no choice but to accept whatever her husband did as she was afraid that trying to stop him would only escalate his physical abuse against her daughter.

The case was tried by a lay judge system.