Hyogo Prefecture man with disabilities kept in tiny cage for over 20 yrs, father arrested

From The Mainichi

April 7th 2018

SANDA, Hyogo — A 42-year-old man with disabilities was forced to live for over 20 years in a cage in a shed beside his family’s residence here, investigative sources disclosed on April 6.

There was no damage to the man’s physical health that could be confirmed. However, after interviewing the man’s father Yoshitane Yamasaki, 73, and others about the situation, the Sanda Municipal Government decided that the conditions qualified as abuse and the man was moved to a social welfare facility. Police arrested Yamasaki on suspicion of unlawful confinement on April 7.

The suspect is specifically accused of locking his son in a wooden cage roughly 1 meter high, 1.8 meters wide and 90 centimeters deep in a prefabricated shed beside their residence from around 10 a.m. on Jan. 18 to 10 p.m. on Jan. 19.

According to the city government, the office received a report on Jan. 16 this year stating, “A man with disabilities is having his movements restricted by his family.”

Officials visited the residence two days later. Inside the prefabricated shed, they found Yamasaki’s son inside the cage, which was padlocked. There was a heater and an air conditioner in the shed, and a toilet sheet for pets was spread on the floor of the cage. It appeared as though the man had spent most of that day there.

Along with the man and his father, a female relative also seemed to be living at the house. Yamasaki explained to city officials that they had made the man live in the shed since he had become violent when he was around 16 years old, and that they had built the cage so he wouldn’t bang on the walls or cause other damage. He ate meals with the rest of the family and was allowed to bathe, but was put in the cage when no one else was home. The father explained to the municipal authorities, “My son has a psychiatric disorder.”

The man came to live in Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, after finishing his compulsory education. As the family did not use any welfare services for his care, the municipal government was unaware that he had any sort of disability until the January report. However, the city did not alert police for roughly a month after confirming his confinement in the cage on Jan. 18.

A representative of the Sanda Municipal Government told the Mainichi Shimbun, “It was a strange situation, but it was determined from the man’s health and treatment by his family that the case wasn’t an urgent matter.”

In December 2017, a woman diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder and confined by her parents froze to death in a state of malnutrition in Neyagawa, Osaka Prefecture. Her parents were arrested and indicted on charges of unlawful confinement and abandonment by persons responsible for protection, resulting in death.

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