AFP

TOKYO

A Japanese woman, who beat her husband to death over his love affairs 36 years ago, has avoided jail time, according to local newspaper Asahi Shimbun.

During a trial, the woman, 71, said she was frustrated that her 79-year-old husband had in recent years told her details of affairs he had in 1979 with a younger woman, confessing he went on trips with her, the paper said. “That’s what I didn’t want to hear most,” she told the Tokyo District Court, according to Asahi.

Married at the age of 20, the woman, who was not named, said she herself never had affairs. She knew for a long time her husband had cheated on her but did not confront him, fearing her children would see their parents fight. She was under added pressure because she had to take care of her husband constantly as he needed care following cancer surgery, she said.

Her husband died last year, several days after she struck his head and face repeatedly at their home in Tokyo. The court handed her a three-year prison sentence, suspended for five years because of the strong regret she showed during the trial — though a suspended sentence in a homicide case is an extremely rare occurrence in the country.

Violence or abuse against old people, especially those who need care because they are suffering from dementia, is not uncommon in rapidly graying Japan. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the health ministry, 15,731 people aged 65 or above were abused by their families or relatives.