World

Japanese knife murderer had already been detained for pro-euthanasia views

Pope Francis sends a condolence letter to yet another place of horror

Japanese knife murderer had already been detained for pro-euthanasia views

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A man who had publicly advocated for involuntary euthanasia is alleged to have carried out an attack on a home for the disabled in Japan Tuesday, killing 19 people.

Satoshi Uematsu, 26, was quoted as saying, “It is better that disabled people disappear,” when he turned himself in at a local police station after the attack at the Tsukui Lily Garden in Sagamihara, south of Tokyo, according to The Guardian.

Uematsu was carrying a bag full of knives and other sharp-edged tools, some of which were bloodstained, when he handed himself in. He is a former employee of the Tsukui Lily Garden.

Nine women and 10 men were killed, the fire department was quoted as saying, and they ranged in age from 18 to 70. It was the country’s worst mass killing in decades.

Authorities said Uematsu had been “involuntarily committed” to hospital on Feb. 19, after police in the town of Tsukui contacted him in response to a letter he had attempted to pass to the speaker of the lower house of Japan’s parliament, The Guardian said.

In the letter, Uematsu argued that the government should permit euthanasia for disabled people, said he would be willing to carry out such killings himself, and detailed how he would do it.

“I envision a world where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanised, with an agreement from the guardians, when it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities,” the letter said.

Uematsu’s letter said he could “wipe out a total of 470 disabled individuals” by targeting two facilities for disabled people during the night shift, “when staffing is low.”

“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.”

He was released from hospital on 2 March. …

The Tsukui Yamayuri-En facility is situated in three hectares (7.6 acres) of grounds. Established by the local government and located on the banks of the Sagami river, it cares for people with a wide range of disabilities.

Pope Francis sent a message of condolence to the archbishop of Tokyo. As the Vatican’s news service reported:

The Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of the Holy Father to Archbishop Peter Takeo Okada of Tokyo, Japan, following an attack on a center for the disabled in which a man armed with a knife killed 19 people. The center, around 50 kilometers from Tokyo, was home to 149 residents, of whom 25 were injured, for the most part seriously.

“Saddened by the loss of life following the attack at the Tsukui Yamayurien facility for the disabled, His Holiness Pope Francis assures all affected by this tragedy of his closeness, and he sends his condolences to the relatives of the deceased and injured. Praying for healing during this difficult time, Pope Francis invokes upon the Japanese nation the divine blessings of reconciliation and peace.”

 

Shawn Neal

John Burger

John Burger is a news editor at Aleteia. He formerly worked at the National Catholic Register and Catholic New York in the Archdiocese of New York. He has also written for a wide variety of Catholic publications.