A serial stabbing at a care center for the disabled in Sagamihara has left 19 dead (9 women and 10 men aged between 18 and 70) and 26 grievously wounded, a horrific event that the murderer himself has described as his attempt to “rid this world of the disabled.”
The 26-year-old man had broken into the Tsukui Yamayuri En centre early in the morning (which was being monitored by only 8 staff members at the time) by smashing the window before murdering all he could with a knife, doubtless aided by the condition of his victims or them being asleep, causing some to label the tragedy as the worst mass murder in Japan in some 70 years.
The man, a former employee at the care center, was finally arrested not at the scene but after turning himself into the police 30 minutes after his rampage, proclaiming “I did it”; additionally exposing that he had gone through with the malicious attack in order to “rid the world of the disabled.”
A letter sent by the arrested man to the lower house of Japan’s parliament (prior to his mass murder) revealed his demands to “euthanize” the disabled:
“My goal is a world in which, in cases where it is difficult for the severely disabled to live at home and be socially active, they can be euthanized with the consent of their guardians.”
The letter goes on to state that he would carry out the murder during the night whilst his victims were asleep, then turn himself in to the police where he would be “jailed for two years” and then be given “a disguise for regular society through plastic surgery” – a rather ludicrous presumption.
The letter in its entirety:
Dear Lower House Speaker Tadamori Oshima,
Thank you very much for reading this letter. I can wipe out a total of 470 disabled individuals.
I am fully aware that my remark is eccentric. However, thinking about the tired faces of guardians, the dull eyes of caregivers working at the facility, I am not able to contain myself, and so I decided to take action today for the sake of Japan and the world.
My reasoning is that I may be able to revitalize the world economy and I thought it may be possible to prevent World War III.
I envision a world where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanized, with an agreement from the guardians, when it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities.
I believe there is still no answer about the way of life for individuals with multiple disabilities. The disabled can only create misery. I think now is the time to carry out a revolution and to make the inevitable but tough decision for the sake of all mankind. Let Japan take the first big step.
Would Mr. Tadamori Oshima, who bears the world, use his power to make the world proceed in a better direction? I sincerely hope you would deliver this message to Mr. Shinzo Abe. This is the answer I reached after serious thinking about what I can do for humankind.
Dear Lower House Speaker Tadamori Oshima, would you lend your power for the sake of dear Japan and all humankind?
Please give this full consideration. Satoshi Uematsu
The Plot: It will be carried out during the night shift, when staffing is low. The target will be two facilities where many multiply disabled people reside.
Staff on guard will be strapped with cable so they can’t move and can’t make contact with anyone outside. The act will be carried out speedily, and definitely without harming the staff. After wiping out the 260 people in two facilities, I will turn myself in.
In carrying out the act, I have several requests. After my arrest, my incarceration should be up to two years, and please let me lead a free life afterward. Innocence on grounds of insanity. A new name (Takashi Iguro), government registration and documents such as a driver’s license needed for everyday life.
A disguise for regular society through plastic surgery. Financial aid of 500 million yen ($5 million). I would like these conditions to be promised.
If you can make your decision, I will carry it out at any time. Please consider this fully for the sake of Japan and world peace.
I hope with all my heart that this can be discussed with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, although I am sorry to trouble him in an unimaginably busy schedule.
The authorities – for whatever reasons – did act in response to this letter, which led to the man being investigated, losing his job and being involuntarily committed to psychiatric evaluation. He was then released without further supervision or charges.
The mother of a daughter who knew the murderer was shocked by his actions:
“I was surprised to hear that the culprit was a person from this neighborhood. My daughter knew the culprit, I mean, they were acquainted. They would greet each other when they would meet and she tells me that he was a very kind person. We are all very shocked.”
If judged mentally culpable, as seems likely given the extent of the planning which led to the attack, he will likely face the death penalty.