After death of baby, Japanese comedian restricted from leaving Taiwan

After death of 4-month-old baby, Japanese comedian suspected of 'injury causing death'

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Kasai with daughter. (Photo from Kenji Kasai Facebook page)

Kasai with daughter. (Photo from Kenji Kasai Facebook page)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- After first being admitted to the hospital on Aug. 4 with severe head trauma, the four-month old baby daughter of a Taiwan-based Japanese comedian died from her injuries yesterday (Aug. 8) and prosecutors are restricting the father from leaving the country on suspicion of "injury causing death" (傷害致死罪), reported Liberty Times.

Kenji Kasai (葛西健二), 42, who has become a celebrity on Taiwanese TV and married a Taiwanese woman in 2012, took his 4-month-old daughter to a clinic on Saturday (Aug. 4) with serious head trauma, a nose contusion and numerous abrasions on her body, causing doctors to quickly become suspicious that the wounds had been inflicted by him, reported News Magazine Asia.

After four days of emergency treatment, doctors were unable to save the baby, and at 5:30 p.m. yesterday (Aug. 8), she was officially declared dead, reported CNA. At 12 a.m. this morning, Kasai was sent to the Prosecutor's Office and he was restricted from leaving the country and as he left the building, he was seen with his head down wearing a facemask and baseball cap before taking a taxi under the escort of police and awaited further instructions. An autopsy will be performed on the baby on Aug. 10, according to Apple Daily.

At 6 p.m. on Aug. 4, Kasai claimed when he was holding his daughter while sitting on the sofa, he stood up to pick up the newspaper, when she started to slip from his grip. He claims that he then accidently overreacted and used too much force to prevent her from falling, causing her to hit her head and nose on his clavicle, but she did not seem to be badly hurt, reported UDN. At 7 p.m. that night, he and his wife discovered that their daughter had become weak and would not respond to their voices, and it was only then that he decided to take her to a clinic.

Staff at the clinic observed a large area of bruises on the face, nose and eyes, found that the baby was in critical condition and immediately called 119 to have her sent to Wanffang Hospital for emergency treatment. Doctors noticed there were also old bruises on her legs and hips, which they suspected could be signs of abuse.

The next morning, social workers and police notified the Taipei Prosecutor's Office of a suspected incident of child abuse and police brought in Kasai and his wife for questioning. When questioned by police about the older injuries, Kasai said that a month ago when he was not paying attention, his daughter "had fallen on her head, but fortunately she was not badly hurt," reported ETtoday. At three months, babies are not yet able to crawl, but some can begin to roll somewhat at that stage.

Kasai majored in Chinese in college before moving to Taiwan 16 years ago, when he started out as a street performer in Taipei's Ximending neighborhood before rising to fame on Taiwanese variety shows. Kasai then went on to act in films, TV shows and commercials, including a part in the film "Kano."

Kasai is a frequent guest on many Taiwanese TV shows and as recently as four days ago took his daughter along with him for a Televised interview.