Mercy for Mother who Murdered Son


In an unusual show of mercy, Japanese courts have ruled that a mother who killed her own son under the most tragic of circumstances will not have to serve a prison sentence.

The case began with the attempted suicide of a 40-year-old Tokyo man, married with 2 children of middle school age.

The man attempted to kill himself on the roof of his workplace, but botched his hanging and was reduced to a vegetable.

He left a note for his loved ones urging them to move on:

“I was tricked by a strange woman.”

“Please forget about me.”

“Lastly, I really, really do love you. Thank you for everything up to now.”

Doctors stabilised him on life support, but considered that “the chances of him ever regaining consciousness are basically nil.”

Japan does not recognise euthanasia and prohibits refusal of treatment to patients in a “persistent vegetative state,” so he would likely have to remain a vegetable for the rest of his natural life, or until his unlikely awakening.

However, Japanese health insurance does not apply to suicides unless mental illness is involved.

As a result of this, the family were presented with estimated receipts totaling some $35,000 for the 10 days of treatment rendered so far, with the future cost of keeping the man alive on a ventilator estimated at $1,000-$3,500 for each day he continued to live.

Lawyers were consulted, but could offer no relief – the family would have to pay until the day he finally passed on, whenever that might be.

Faced with this incredible financial burden the family despaired.

His wife begged doctors to stop the ruinous treatment, both because of the cost and his own inferred wishes: “Please stop actively treating him. If it’s impossible I’ll take him of the ventilator myself,” but doctors steadfastly refused to consider ceasing treatment as brain death had not occurred.

Soon after, his 67-year-old mother left the wife a note one morning: “Hold on, Kyoko. I’m his mother, I bore him into this world, so it’s my responsibility.” She took a kitchen knife with her to the hospital.

Placing a picture of her son taken on holiday 20 years ago on his breast, she stabbed him 4 times in the chest, killing him.

His mother later spoke of her sorrow:

“The sense of loss I have at my son’s death, the fact that I killed him, it overwhelms me. I’ll be atoning for the rest of my life.”

“There was no way I could let his wife take him off the ventilator. As his mother, I’m responsible. I’ve led a long and happy life, so I resolved that my life is over, and I would do it.”

She herself was no stranger to the plight of the aged or disabled, having for 20 years volunteered at a care facility.

In the courtroom, the man’s wife wept as she saw the mother’s now gaunt frame in the dock: “If she hadn’t done it, I would have.”

She begged the court for mercy: “For a mother who loved her son so to have killed him, there can be no greater anguish. Please return her to her husband’s side – he would have wanted that.”

“What would you have done if you were in the same position?” asked the defence in its closing statements to a panel of 6 lay judges and 3 professional judges.

Judges found her guilty of murder, but mercifully sentenced her to only 3 years (the prosecution sought 5, the usual minimum for murder) – they also suspended the sentence for 5 years, meaning she will go free without serving any time in prison, assuming she can refrain from killing any more of her offspring for 5 years.

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    07:53 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I feel sorry for her but she should have injected him with a bunch of potassium chloride it stops the heart and is hard to detect.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:50 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    At 4:50 anon and everyone else...FUCK YOU

    I am sick and tired of everyone in this thread blaming the doctors like they had some kind of pyramid scheme.THEY ARE BOUND BY LAW LIKE EVERYONE ELSE.If you want to blame someone blame the Diet/lawyers of Japan,they're the ones making these fucked up laws.

    And to echo the defense ,what would you do?

    Throw your entire life away after slaving in school for years just to help one family.

    Sorry , but I'm an american pre-medical student and this was getting on my last nerve.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:41 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hey, bound by law OR NOT, I would say "FUCK THE LAW!" and pull the plug in a case like this, and tell the prosecutors "Okay, you want to come after me! WAIT UNTIL I TELL ALL THE NEWS MEDIA WHAT YOU ARE DOING!"

    That would make them back down IMMEDIATELY, because they wouldn't want the bad publicity and investigations into the craptacular law of Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:36 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You're far too optimistic and unrealistic. This did not happen in the USA. For a doctor to lose their license is far worse than you bothered to realize.

    Avatar of Carrie
    Comment by Carrie
    11:02 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Right. I can only imagine it wasn't an easy situation for them to handle, either.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:06 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    thousand dollars a day? come on, it's obvious they had something WORSE than a pyramid scheme for Pete's sake. No life is worth more than 10 thousand bucks. Good for me that I have a DNR form... and also I have a legal document preventing those BUTCHERS of STEALING my organs ^_^

    In charging for pointless treatments, hospital can be worse than banks.

    Comment by Anonymous
    07:38 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    what a bitch, she only had him killed coz she didnt want to pay the money. She'd rather spend it on drugs and hand bags. I say death penalty for the entire family. Execute them all.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:02 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Better spend that money on WHATEVER they want that to give it to a hospital dirtector to buy another gold comb. Failed troll is failed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:09 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Fuck off, you evil cunt.

    Avatar of Sandalphon
    Comment by Sandalphon
    06:51 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    When I read the title: What could possibly justify mercy for murdering her own son?

    After reading the article: ...I'm just speechless. I am reminded again that real life is way stranger than any work of fiction.

    I can only imagine how sad it all must be for this man's family. But amongst the sea of despair, it must be relieving to know that they're not alone, for this man's mother has shown her support.

    I can't believe I was brought to tears. Granted, my over-active imagination might have made it all too easy to picture and feel in my mind, but that's still a first.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:58 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Bad End.

    And no nice boat either.

    Avatar of Reichi
    Comment by Reichi
    08:20 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I think you mean mother-in-law, not step-mother.
    This is really sad. At least the mother got off easy, having done what she had in mercy and not malice.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:48 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Euthanasia is illegal in Japan? Coincidentally I was actually checking about the legality of Euthanasia worldwide just today, and according to wikipedia it was legal in Japan.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:42 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It is UNLESS someone suicides. Then, for some reason, it becomes illegal.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:09 24/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    How ironic. The one instance in which a person has clearly demonstrated that they would rather die then live is the one in which the law requires that they be kept alive.

    Avatar of Belthasar
    Comment by Belthasar
    08:33 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    $1000 a day for the hospital to do what exactly? I doubt that any of their equipment uses up enough power to excuse that, food is not that expensive, and they probably don't even have to do all that much to keep the guy alive for most of the day (Note: I am not a doctor so I might be wrong on that last point). I really don't understand how the health care industry keeps getting away with stuff like that...

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:14 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I can only imagine the amount of liquor it would take to get over something like this. You could probably binge for a lifetime and then some and it'll still hurt.

    Comment by Anonymous
    06:34 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I loved the photo for this article!

    Did anyone else notice the medical device in picture's foregrond says, "Running on Battery" at the top?! I wonder how long the battery lasts...

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:08 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    A truly sad story indeed. There is no happy ending...

    I feel for the mother, her son obviously wanted to die, dunno for what particular reason, but after the failed attempt, is worse off than he was before.
    He wanted to end his life and not be a burden on his family, but the hospital refused to take him off life support, against the his will and of the family.
    the mother had to step end, she may have kill him, but wasn't and act of violence. She did to end his pain and suffering, yet she carry a heavy burden to take his life.

    I condolences to the mother, the wife and his children and though I don't understand why he attempt suicide in the first place, to the man himself.
    Though I don't support suicide, killing of one self for whatever reason, I didn't know him or his circumstances and reason to do so, I can't really judge him, especially since he already passed on.

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:14 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    sad sad story, fuck japan..

    Avatar of TC-man
    Comment by TC-man
    04:50 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It's so harsh to called it murder when the old mother is commiting euthanasia in order to release her son from misery (living as a plant for the rest of his life). It's not there's no practise of euthanasia in Japan, there were precedents where euthanasia is allowed when certain criteria are met; but on the other hand euthanasia is not regulated by a law;

    And the doctors who forced these 2 women to pay until his son really died, called them selves doctors, when they only want to see money, this is blood money. Shame on them!

    Avatar of Y10NRDY
    Comment by Y10NRDY
    06:12 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    ...but was it really necessary to STAB him to death?

    "LOL, waitaminute, hold up. Use this..."
    *hands old lady a pillow.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:42 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It takes around three minutes to kill someone by smothering. She would not have had that time, as the machines he was hooked to would have immediately alerted the hospital staff that something was wrong with him. Giving him lethal wounds by stabbing prevented them from being able to quickly prevent him from dying.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:06 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    my uncle had something like this occur after a carcrash... the doctors who "saved" him were like "oh he died 3 times on the operation table but we revived him every time.... he might have severe brain damage now though..."

    end of story, my uncle was a near vegetable unable to communicate with anyone beyond groaning stuck in a wheelchair for 6 years until he finally died...

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:07 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's really tragic. The situation they were in was basically state-sponsored extortion, nothing short of outright social sadism and nothing short of what she did would have had any chance of preventing the entire family's lives being ruined. I'm glad the mother wasn't jailed, especially at her age, but she'll still be suffering immensely. I feel for her.

    Comment by Anonymous
    19:08 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh the irony. Here in the UK, A friend of mine who works in a high dependency unit looks after a muslim asylum seeker who who was injured in a road traffic accident. This guy has not put 1 penny into tax yet the goverment pays almost £400.000 per year for this guys care. Imagine how many more deserving people should get the funding, but intead it gets wasted. Makes you really think who to vote for this coming election.

    Avatar of shiroki
    Comment by shiroki
    16:23 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't get it... why is euthanasia illegal in the land of seppuku?

    Also, pity the family. Hope they live well from now on.

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:44 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "Because they can't has killings if they wanteds it themselves before hurtings :-3"

    Comment by Anonymous
    05:23 24/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I understand all this, but did she have to use a kitchen knife? Couldve just pulled off the support system.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:42 25/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Its awesome to hear a sensical court decision
    for a change...
    The position of this family is totally understable... the real problem here is that stupid law.

    Avatar of man1
    Comment by man1
    03:15 05/05/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Clearly, there is something that is invincible, above law and beyond rationale.
    That thing is mother's love.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    06:59 25/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    WTF? 1000$/day? That can't be right.

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:23 24/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    In my country a friendly doctor will quietly slip you a morphine overdose.
    It spared my mother a lot of pain, but sometimes they do it to free up beds...

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:30 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I pity his mother. She has to end her own son life. This is so cruel.

    Avatar of Kitsune9Tails
    Comment by Kitsune9Tails
    11:50 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This reminds me of "The Million Dollar Baby". That was a hard enough watch, and it was fiction...

    Avatar of Carrie
    Comment by Carrie
    10:54 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This story got me a little choked up.

    I feel sort of silly and a bit improper for thinking of it, but scrolling through the comments, I was reminded of Faye Valentine. Even in fictional depictions of the future, this sort of thing still occurs. It's sad, really.

    Avatar of motaku96
    Comment by motaku96
    13:13 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Will you kill someone you love, because of love?

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:50 24/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Damn. Someone beat me to it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    04:10 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Damn healthcare laws!

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:22 22/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I don't see why you are all saying how sad it is. If her son was that pathetic he deserved death and its half her fault raising him. If he was mine he would've never lived that long being that weak and stupid. Probably wouldn't have made it to 10.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:39 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    I'm surprised you made it to 10. Actually I'm surprised you made it at all.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:02 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well apparently he got tricked by some woman (mistress?) so...

    Comment by Anonymous
    23:23 22/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Should people be forced to live?
    Should an entire family suffer from someone who does not want to live?

    Avatar of Baronight
    Comment by Baronight
    23:26 22/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    this is a really difficult situation...
    and the judges did the right thing...

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:07 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Correction: at least they didn't do the entirely wrong thing. The verdict should have been not guilty. True, she DID break a law, and by that very law what she did was murder and she's beyond a single doubt guilty of the crime defined by the law, but laws can't cover 100% of all possible situations, and it's for these cases that we have judges to apply human common sense. If they apply the law 100% accurately to each and every case, even when said case exposed significant flaws in that law, we could as well just let computers calculate the verdicts for us.
    I'll say it again: it should have been not guilty.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:51 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You do not understand how law works, at all.

    Applying human common sense to the justice system would completely break the system because people could just bribe a judge to apply "common sense" to a case easily handled in the scope of law.

    Also it allows for emotional bias that shouldn't be present when seeking justice, there are to much double standards and everything.

    When it comes down to it, murder is murder. By laws definition, she committed it, and she was let off in the scope of that law, ensuring the integrity of the system. (Also, inb4 self defense or something, murder is not homicide, lrn2law)

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:45 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    She committed murder, premeditated and everything, stabbed him with a knife four times, and she was caught. The verdict is appropriate and it stands because you should always call murder out for what it is--no sense trying to look away and see it as something it's not.

    The lenient punishment of no jail time should also stand due to the circumstances, and was likely a good call by the lay judges, but this is a case of the punishment fitting the crime. It was a bad situation all around, but this result calls a murder out for what it is but still takes into account the extenuating circumstances without being a hardline-by-the-book sentence.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:26 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    The law doesn't apply common sense.

    In parts of the Middle East, a woman can be imprisoned for being sexually assaulted.

    In the UK, a household can loose their internet connection if a stranger accesses their network and downloads copyrighted material.

    In Uganda, a bill is being pressed forward that would impose the death sentence for what it refers to as 'aggravated homosexuality', the promotion of homosexuality would also carry a life sentence.

    Wheres the common sense in these?

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:17 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    My premise here is well-regulated and controlled, constitutionally bound legislature. That obviously rules out the Middle East and that christfaggotry-ridden hellhole Uganda. The UK isn't exactly blameless in this area as well (as are alarmingly few countries even in the developed world, sadly).

    But I think we can all agree that laws against murder are among the most reasonable pieces of legislature to be found in modern constitutional states. Still, and this is my point, this case dramatically demonstrates that there are times when a judge needs to not to invoke a law even when there is no doubt that the defendant committed the 'offense', no matter how justified the law per se is. Life will come up with all kinds of situations no lawmaker can possibly foresee.

    I simply demand this much common sense from the people in the judicial systems of this world. Not handing out a sentence is one thing, but as a matter of principle I demand that the judges go further than just that. Very idealistic, I know, but I nonetheless demand it.

    Comment by Anonymous
    03:19 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    same anon here, should have been "legislation" instead of "legislature"... sorry, English not my first language.

    Comment by Anonymous
    01:18 23/04/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah, I agree completely. But many people just seem to miss the point entirely. I mean, since they were trained for this, don't you think judges would give fairer decisions on trials like this?

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