October 26th 2017 marks exactly one year and three months since the killing of disabled people in care home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan on July 26th 2016. The suspect still awaits trial. Trials take a long a time in Japan to convene and in the meantime, and other events have made the news in Japan that concern disabled people. Here are two such stories:
Care home trainee arrested for allegedly seriously injuring resident
From The Mainichi September 12, 2017
UTSUNOMIYA — A trainee at a care home supporting people with intellectual disabilities has been arrested on suspicion of assaulting and seriously injuring a resident, investigative sources said.
The 22-year-old suspect, who was undergoing training to work at the facility, Bi Buraito, in Utsunomiya, stands accused of inflicting bodily injury. His name was not immediately disclosed.
Tochigi Prefectural Police also questioned a woman in her 20s, who previously worked at the care home, suspecting that she knows the details of the incident, but later became unable to contact her.
The 22-year-old suspect allegedly assaulted the 28-year-old victim living at Bi Buraito in mid-April this year, leaving him with severe injuries including broken bones, according to the sources.
The victim complained that he fell ill at around noon of April 16 and took a rest in his room within the facility, according to Zuihokai, a social welfare corporation that operates the facility, and other sources. He was rushed to the hospital by ambulance at around 8 p.m. on the same day after his blood pressure fell and he became drowsy.
Doctors at the hospital found that the man had his lumbar spine broken and had lost about a liter of blood from his lien. He was diagnosed with injuries that would take six months to heal. The victim had fallen unconscious at one point but subsequently regained consciousness. He is reportedly undergoing treatment in Tokyo.
The victim’s mother said she is glad that her son survived the incident even though he shows facial expressions suggesting stress.
“My son sometimes shows expressions I had never seen before. It may be because of post-traumatic stress disorder, but I’m glad that he’s alive,” she told the Mainichi Shimbun.
The prefectural police searched the facility, the Zuihokai head office and other related locations on Sept. 11 over the case and confiscated data on individual workers and documents on past accidents. Investigators are also analyzing security video footage at the facility.
The suspect is a resident of another care home for people with disabilities in Tochigi Prefecture that Zuihokai runs, according to officials at Bi Buraito. At the time of the incident, the man was undergoing training at Bi Buraito as part of a program to help him reintegrate into society.
81-yr-old man charged over woman’s death in wheelchair accident on escalator
From Japan Today October 24th 2017
TAKAMATSU, Kagawa Prefecture
An 81-year-old man has been charged with negligent homicide in an incident in July, in which a 76-year-old woman died after a wheelchair fell on her as she was using an escalator at a furniture store in Takamatsu City, Kagawa Prefecture.
The incident took place at the Nitori Yumetown Takamatsu store in Takamatsu City’s Kamitenjincho at around 10:40 a.m. on July 11. The man was pushing his wife’s wheelchair up the escalator on their way to the store’s third floor, but lost his balance as the two were about to get off. The two fell down the escalator, hitting a woman who was behind them, Fuji TV reported
The victim, Harumi Watanabe, died approximately eight hours later from her injuries. The woman in the wheelchair suffered a bone fracture and her husband light injuries.
The store was equipped with an elevator and had warning signs not to use strollers and wheelchairs on the escalator.
Police said Tuesday that the man has admitted he was negligent and quoted him as saying he was truly sorry. He told police that he used the escalator without giving it much thought.