By Barrier Free Japan with extracts translated from NHK
July 2 2020
KANAGAWA- After previously saying it would end investigations into the possible abuse of residents at a care home in Sagamihara city for people with disabilities; a care home where nineteen disabled people were killed, the Kanagawa Prefectural Government reversed its decision not to investigate the abuse further.
Satoshi Uematsu killed 19 disabled residents and injured 26 others at the ‘Tsukui Yamayurien’ disability welfare facility in Kanagawa prefecture in July 2016, a facility managed by the social welfare corporation ‘Kanagawa Kyokai.’
In the autumn of 2019, information was received that inappropriate support was being provided to the residents of the ‘Tsukui Yamayurien’ care facility. In January 2020, it was announced that a ‘third party group’ or ‘verification committee’ had been established.
The Kanagawa Prefectural Government initially announced on May 18 its intention to discontinue any investigation into abuse at the care home in Sagamihara City.
The Kanagawa Prefectural Government then announced on June 26th that it would change its policy and continue to investigate the possible abuse of disabled people at the ‘Tsukui Yamayurien’ care home in Sagamihara City.
A ‘third party verification committee’ pointed out that there were other physical restraints in the facility that were suspected of being abusive. A sub-committee is to be formed.
On June 30th, representatives of six organizations made up of people with disabilities as well as supporters met with Kanagawa Governor Kuroiwa, and submitted a request form.
Shigeyoshi Choi of ‘DPI Japan’ made the request form said, “While the trial was over and the case gradually weathered, it was possible to thoroughly verify what happened at that facility, It lead to not producing a second case.”
Yasue Kaihara, Deputy General Manager of Kyosen Kanagawa Branch, which is built at a welfare work place for people with disabilities, said, “I do not understand why the staff members performed the acts pointed out by the third-party committee that could be considered abuse. I don’t say that there is no sense of discrimination among those who are involved with people, but the dimension is different. I would like to know the background behind what led to the incident.”
In addition, a handwritten request form submitted by a user of the NPO “Pukapuka”, which operates a bakery where people with intellectual disabilities work in Yokohama, said, “Why was Yamayuri Garden staff killed?
According to the request form, “The trial did not reveal the background and factors behind the “distorted thoughts” of Uematsu. It was pointed out that working experience at the facility was the basis of the idea.”
Kanagawa Prefecture Governor Kuroiwa said, “I do not think that the verification work of Tsukui and Mayuri Garden has been completed. I would like to create a new way of welfare for persons with disabilities from the user’s perspective through verification.”
Kanagawa Prefecture is going to form a new subcommittee to ask the staff for more information.