Written with extracts from The Mainichi Shimbun
June 18 2020
KANAGAWA – As the COVID-19 crisis continues, the investigation into abuse of people with disabilities at a facility in Kanagawa prefecture is about to be dismissed.
New suspicions of abuse emerged last autumn regarding the “Tsukui Yamayurien” facility in Sagamihara City, in Kanagawa Prefecture which became a stage of mass murder four years ago. The prefecture suddenly announced on May 18 that it would stop verifying cases of abuse, and some are skeptical.
Satoshi Uematsu killed 19 disabled residents and injured 26 others at the “Tsukui Yamayurien” disability welfare facility in Kanagawa July 2016.
The prefecture had entrusted the management of the “Tsukui Yamayurien” to the social welfare corporation Kanagawa Kyokai. After the incident, users live in multiple facilities centered on a temporary garden in Serigatani, Konan-ku, Yokohama.
However, in the fall of last year, because information was received that inappropriate support was being provided to residents, the prefecture confirmed in January this year that a verification committee had been established.
The three members scrutinized the facility’s individual records and minutes, and on May 14, submitted an interim report to the prefecture. The report points out the suspicion of long-term “abuse” by listing the actual conditions such as physical restraints that do not meet the requirements and locking the room for a long time. The prefecture was also asked to make improvements, saying that “the awareness of the role of the installer is insufficient.” The prefecture was also asked to make improvements. In March, a subcommittee was set up in the form of expanding the verification committee, and the target was to cover the entire prefectural facilities.
However, at the Prefectural Assembly Health and Welfare Standing Committee on May 18, the prefecture side explained that “the verification of Tsukui Yamayuri Garden ends with an interim report” adding that “a final report will not be created”. This policy was not communicated to the verification committee in advance, and Chairman Sato said, “I was surprised because I was planning to conduct a hearing of the garden staff who had been postponed due to the effect of the new coronavirus.