Recent Deaths of Disabled People in Japan|最近の日本の障害者の死

According to the Asahi Shimbun, A man who was in his 50’s, was living in a support facility for the disabled in Izumi City, Osaka Prefecture, suffered an injury that damaged his internal organs and he later died on October 9th.

The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was unknown, and the prefectural police are investigating how the man may have died.

According to officials carrying out the investigation, in July, an unusual condition was found with regards to his physical condition, and he was transported to a hospital. Internal organs injuries were discovered, and he was admitted and had surgery, but he died on the 9th of October. It has been stated that man had an intellectual disability. The prefectural police are listening to accounts from staff members.

According to the homepage of the support facility where the deceased was a resident, the facility supports intellectually disabled people, through providing meals and bathing facilities and other similar activities.

Death of a woman with intellectual disabilities in a Oita Prefecture care home 

On the morning of the August 8th 2017, a woman with intellectual disabilities, aged 68, was found to have died, apparently from blood loss at a care home in Takada city, Oita prefecture. The police are investigating the case.

Officials found that a woman with intellectual disabilities, with a blood from her head at a disabled support facility for the disabled in Takada City, Oita Prefecture, on August 8th. The woman, Ms Mie Mineko (68) who had collapsed was confirmed dead at a  hospital.

According to the police, she had  fallen on her back on the floor of the hall in the facility, and there was a trace of bruises on her forehead.


“Return!” Misery for Woman in Tears as her Wheelchair is Stolen / Japan Disabled People Times 日本の障害者向け新聞

“Return!” Misery for Woman in Tears as her Wheelchair is Stolen

Fuji Television System (FNN)

A 62 – year – old woman in Kanagawa – Yokohama City had her wheelchair stolen that she says is “part of her body” The wheelchair user is Katsuko.

Katsuko has been using a wheelchair for 20 years. Katsuko posted on her own SNS on 24th is spread through the internet and attracting attention. Katsuko wrote in the Facebook on February 24 that “Wheelchair is what I enrich my life, my body is!

The wheelchair Katsuko cherished was stolen. Katsuko parked the wheelchair as usual. Afterwards, the figure of a man was witnessed leaving with the wheelchair. The wheelchair was stolen within the premises of a hospital in Kohoku Ward, Yokohama. It was before noon on the 24th.

Katsuko said, “How did declare put it on a form?” This is how it was, I brought only valuable. ” Katsuko has relied on a wheelchair for most of her life due to childhood paralysis. This time, she walked into the hospital, returning after seeing the doctor and found the wheelchair was gone.

Katsuko said, “Men brought wheelchairs,” A woman who goes to the same hospital as Katsuko was a witness. According to the woman, the man is in his fifties, sat on the wheelchair after pulling a stick and approaching a wheelchair, she said:

“It’s a beautiful wheelchair”,

The man answered “Well” and left the place.

Katsuko’s wheelchair was custom made four years ago over and cost 550,000 yen

After being stolen, she uses an alternative wheelchair, but she says it is inconvenient for her body. Katsuko said, “It is a stolen wheelchair … It really matches my body and it’s my body with my legs and I think that it’s fashion, just make it a brilliant color, a noticeable color So I chose a very affection, is not it that it is not there, honesty. ” Katsuko submitted a damage report to the police.

The police are investigating as a case of theft.

Katsuko says, “I do not want to ask questions about sin, I just want you to just return it. It is fine even if you leave it here. Even if you put it in a prominent place of the station, Please tell me.”


Japan Disabled People Times 日本の障害者向け新聞

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.

Cause of Death of an Intellectually Disabled Man in Izumi City, Osaka Prefecture is Unknown

Translated from The Asahi Shimbun 14th October 2017

A man, who was in his 50’s, was living in a support facility for the disabled in Izumi City, Osaka Prefecture, suffered an injury that damaged his internal organs and he later died.

The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was unknown, and the prefectural police are investigating how the man may have died.

According to officials carrying out the investigation, in July, an unusual condition was found with regards to his physical condition, and he was transported to a hospital. Internal organs injuries were discovered, and he was admitted and had surgery, but he died on the 9th of October. It has been stated that man had an intellectual disability. The prefectural police are listening to accounts from staff members.

According to the homepage of the support facility where the deceased was a resident, the facility supports intellectually disabled people, through providing meals and bathing facilities and other similar activities.





One Year After Sagamihara, Japanese Disabled People Continue to Face Discrimination

July 26th 2017 marks one year since the murder of 19 intellectually disabled people at the Tsukui Yamayuri En care home in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, an attack that injured 27 others. The alleged attacker, Satoshi Uematsu, a former employee at the care facility, is still awaiting trial, and prosecutors have said it may take more than a year before the trial will begin. According to a judicial official quoted in a Kyodo News Report:

“There is an enormous amount of evidence (to be examined). I reckon more than a year would be needed merely for pretrial discovery, or disclosure of evidence, by prosecutors during the consultation stage.”

A long wait for a trial is in itself, not unusual in Japan, although much has been made in both the Japanese and Western press about the names of the victims not be released. As early as the end of the July 2016, disability groups have been saying that to not the release the names of the victims, is to deny them their identity, just as the alleged attacker Uematsu did. As Professor Osamu Nagase, a disability rights advocate and academic at Ritsumeikan University said to the Sankei Shimbun at the time:

“To not announce the name of the 19 human beings is to suggest that disabled people are not people…that thinking seems to in part be overlapping with the thinking of the suspect “.

Article 291 of The Japanese Code of Criminal Procedure allows prosecutors to read out the indictment without identifying the victim, so it cannot be said that the Kanagawa Prefectural Police were acting improperly in not releasing the names of the victims. However, it is also worth noting that there have been murder cases where the Japanese police have released the names of the victims, such as in the recent ‘Black Widow’ murder, where it was released to the press that Chisako Kakehi, was alleged to have killed her husband, Isao Kakehi. Why the release the names in that case, but not the names of those killed at the Sagamihara care home?

Regardless of the legal minutia of murder cases in Japan; about whether it is appropriate or not to the release the names of those that were killed I cannot help but feel that the Sagamihara massacre says a lot of about attitudes towards the disabled in Japan. It is true that one year ago, much of the press talked about the murders at the Sagamihara care home as being a “massacre” and according to Kyodo, an incident that “sent shock waves through the country”. However, one year later after this ‘massacre’ it is difficult to say that attitudes towards disabled people in Japan have changed that dramatically.

Take the example of Hideto Kijima, a paraplegic man who, in late June, had to crawl up the stairs of an airplane to board his flight from Amami Oshima , a small island off Kagoshima to Osaka. Staff at Vanilla Air, a low cost carrier (LCC) or ‘budget airline’ that is a subsidiary of All Nippon Airways reportedly told Kijima “people who cannot walk cannot fly” although that he could board the plane, if he “can climb up the stairs on his own with the assistance” of his friends, although his friends were forbidden from carrying Kijima’s wheelchair up the staircase. In the end, Kijima decided to crawl up the stairs despite the protestations of the Vanilla Air staff, although the Vanilla Air has since apologized and according to the Sankei Shimbun:

“…the low-cost carrier (LCC) was quick to apologize and has purchased a boarding chair. The airline has also promised to install an electric stairlift.”

Kijima was apparently thankful for Vanilla Air’s quick response, but others, such as the aforementioned Professor Nagase, were no so forgiving, viewing Kijima’s treatment as a human rights violation, and a violation of Japan’s own ‘Act to Eliminate Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities’, which came into effect April 2016:

“Vanilla Air’s policy not to let people who do not walk fly seems a violation of the Act to Eliminate Discrimination Against Persons with Disabilities and the CRPD, which Japan has ratified,” said Nagase in an email interview. “If there was no accessibility, the airline was expected to provide reasonable accommodation, though as private company it is only encouraged to do so. This really proves the necessity to promote general accessibility and to secure reasonable accommodation in specific situations.”

Other incidents could be mentioned, such the case of mentally handicapped man, aged 19, who died of heat exhaustion after having been left locked in car outside a welfare facility in Saitama for six hours in early July. Police are still investigating that incident and no arrests of those responsible have been reported.

Taken individually, it is easy to respond to such incidents as simply sad or tragic, but they are also something more than that, they are also completely avoidable, if companies and institutions have a policy regarding people with disabilities. Japanese companies are encouraged by the government to be ‘barrier free’ or accessible to disabled people, particularly as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics draws nearer, and Japan has had some success in increasing accessibility for disabled people but, if it is to be truly ‘barrier free’ to quote Tokyo Governor Koike “I believe that a barrier-free mind is equally vital”.

I submit that we are a long way from having a ‘barrier free mind’ here in Japan, if disabled people have to resort to crawl up staircases to get on airplanes, die of heat exhaustion in cars, and we can’t even say their names when they are murdered.

11 Months Since Sagamihara Massacre of Disabled 相模原障害者殺傷 月命日で施設前に献花台

Translated from “相模原障害者殺傷 月命日で施設前に献花台” published on Monday June 26th 2017 by NHK

The Original Japanese text follows after the English translation.

June 26th marks 11 months since the attack at a facility for the intellectually disabled in Sagamihara city, and a flower table was set up in front of the facility in order to mourn the 19 people who were murdered, the officials handed the flowers quietly as they prayed for the dead.

Last July 26th, a former employee’s stabbed the residents one after another at the intellectually disabled facility “Tsukui Yamayuri Garden” in Sagamihara City, 19 people were killed and 27 people were injured seriously.

The facility is currently it is closed as it is reconstructed and more than 100 residents are moving to another facility in Yokohama city in April to live.

Takeshi Inagura said, “I felt that since it was going to be a year soon, I shall put my hands together whilst looking back thinking many thoughts about the past year and I am grateful that some people will come along this day from a distance as well.”

The dedication flower bed is installed until 4 pm on the 26th.

Original Japanese Text:

相模原障害者殺傷 月命日で施設前に献花台

6月26日 11時10分








Sagamihara Massacre: 6 Months On

Original text: 殺傷事件から半年 元職員は障害者冒とくの供述続ける (NHK)


January 26th 2017

It is six months since the incident that 46 people were injured or killed at a residential care facility for the intellectual disabled in Sagamihara city. 

A 27-year-old former employee was arrested on suspicion of homicide, he had made statements against disabled people, the suspect is currently undergoing psychological evaluation. Prosecutors are expected to decide next month whether or not he can face trial on the basis of that assessment.

In this incident, the residents were stabbed one after another with a knife at the entrance facility “Miyuki Tsukui” in the Midori ward of Sagamihara-city in the early hours of July 26th, 19 people died, 27 people were seriously injured. Former employee of the facility, Satoshi Uematsu (27), has been arrested for killing 19 people. In addition, charges of attempted murder of the 24 people he injured is being explored, and the suspect is currently undergoing psychological evaluation.

According to previous investigation, Uematsu was suspected that dangerous behavior against disabled people from January to February of last year, since five months before the incident, he wrote letters to Chairman of the House of Representatives, justifying the killing of disabled people

Uematsu has allegedly insisted that claims he killed made by the investigation are false, according to the investigative officials, saying “I do not know” etc. An expert appraisal on his mental health is scheduled for next month 20th, and after which prosecution is expected to decide whether to indict him.

Family society president remarks

Kazumasa Otsuki, president of the family association ‘Midori-kai’ of ‘Tsukui Yamayuri Garden’, answers the interview for the first time based on the thoughts of the bereaved family who are still unable to organize their minds even after half a year since the incident It was. Mr. Otsuki said, “I attended the funeral of the deceased people and talked with the bereaved families, but when I think of why this happened and I was feeling unhappy about the people who lost their lives, it was really regrettable I could not do it. ”

In addition, I introduced an episode at a farewell party opened only by the people concerned and said, “From one bereaved family, I heard that my intention to protect my older sister in my family actually was supported by my sister, and like a treasure In the meantime, there was a story saying that I had raised a story saying that when I remember the incident, some people said that I do not want to hear the word “Yamayuri Garden”, but I feel unbelievable if I think about the feelings of the bereaved families who have lost an important family “I said. About six months since the incident the 19 people still have been anonymous, “I think that  there are various reasons, but all the bereaved families lost their irreplaceable family, and still cannot deal with it emotionally, I think that their desire to live quietly is also strong. Since my son also suffered damage, I can understand the feelings of the bereaved family, the time to tell may come I will answer, “Is not it a bit more time required for it?” I also heard about injuries and others who are currently being divided among several facilities and that they are living, “I heard stories that people who were burned hated being brought into contact with their bodies after the incident, and injuries I think that people who did not do it also made me scared. I want everyone to send me away from this uneasy life in an unfamiliar environment and return me to the calm original life as soon as possible.