Source AP ©

Japan couple arrested for abandoning baby, dumping body

A young Japanese couple suspected of leaving their baby in the baggage hold of a motorbike while they gambled was arrested Thursday after the child's dead body was found in a gutter, police and media reports said.

The arrest of Motoki Tamiya and his wife, Mika, both 21, comes amid a widespread public outcry about the treatment of children after a separate case in which a preschooler was abandoned by his father at an anonymous drop box meant for unwanted infants.

In Thursday's case, the 1-year-old boy is believed to have suffocated to death while shut in the motorbike's storage compartment as his parents played pachinko, media reports said. Pachinko is a popular Japanese game similar to pinball.

After discovering the baby was dead, the couple is suspected of dumping the body off a remote road in the mountains of western Japan earlier this year, local police official Seiho Yasui said. The couple was arrested on suspicion of illegally dumping the body.

The body was found in April, but appeared to have been dumped months before. Police identified the baby on Wednesday after DNA tests linked him to Mika, Yasui said.

The mother had told welfare workers in January she felt she could not raise the baby and wished to give him up, according to news reports.

On Tuesday, authorities said a 3-year-old had been dumped at a baby hatch at a hospital in southern Japan.

The drop box was created after a series of cases in which newborn babies were left in parks and supermarkets, triggering a public outcry and government warnings against abandoning babies.