Man held over fatal stabbings of 19 at Sagamihara care facility planned second attack on same day

From Jiji Press reprinted in The Japan Times

January 25th 2018

YOKOHAMA – Satoshi Uematsu, awaiting trial for the 2016 deadly attack on a facility for the mentally disabled in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, has told Jiji Press that he planned to assault another such facility in the same prefecture on the same day.

Since last month Jiji Press has held meetings with Uematsu, 28, at a prison in the prefecture’s capital, Yokohama. He had earlier accepted only letter exchanges.

Uematsu said he abandoned the second attack as he expected police interference after failing to complete his plan to tie up all facility workers during the first one. He said he voluntarily presented himself to a local police station, also because he thought he had successfully killed a considerable number of disabled people.

Uematsu still justifies the heinous crime, insisting that people who cannot communicate should be euthanized.

But he said he is sorry about the way he killed the victims. “I didn’t come up with any other way,” he said.

Before the attack, Uematsu detailed his crime plan in a letter addressed to the speaker of the House of Representatives, naming two specific targets — Tsukui Yamayuri-en, where 19 people were stabbed to death and 27 injured on July 26, 2016, and another facility in Atsugi, also in Kanagawa Prefecture.

In February that year he visited the Lower House speaker’s official residence to deliver the letter, only to be rejected. But when he visited the residence again a few days later, the letter was received by a patrolling police officer.

Uematsu had worked at Tsukui Yamayuri-en since December 2012. Following the visits to the Lower House speaker’s residence, he told a colleague that he would kill severely disabled people. He was then diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and admitted to a hospital through a compulsory hospitalization process.

“I had confidence in my thoughts,” said Uematsu, adding that he “exercised and prepared” to carry out the attack plan during two weeks of hospitalization.

Uematsu said he is ready to claim during his trial that the people he killed were not humans. Asked about the possibility of capital punishment, he said, “I would say, ‘Don’t talk stupid,’” to judges if they hand down a death sentence. He said he expects a prison term of around 20 years.

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