By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from The Asahi
July 25 2020
Following the arrest of two doctors on Thursday 23 July for allegedly murdering a woman, Yuri Hayashi, (51) who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, at the patient’s request, Yasuhiko Funago, a member of the political party ‘Reiwa Shinsengumi’ has voiced concerns about the alleged ‘mercy killing’ incident in Kyoto.
Funago , who was elected to Japan’s Upper House in 2019 and himself has ALS. He said in a statement released on July 23 that:
“I hold strong concerns about some of the responses that have appeared on the internet indicating those posting would have done the same thing…That makes it even more difficult for those with incurable diseases to hold the feeling that they want to continue living. However, through peer support, I realized that my own experience was beneficial to other patients and I made the decision to continue living… What is most important is creating a society that protects a ‘right to live’ rather than a ‘right to die.”
Regarding the two physicians arrested, one is aged 42, is from Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northeastern Japan, and the second, aged 43, is from Tokyo are suspected of drugging Hayashi with a sedative, causing her death at her home in Kyoto in the evening of Nov. 30 last year, investigative sources said.
According to the Kyoto prefectural police department, the two suspects were not the woman’s attending doctors and were unacquainted with her. The suspects apparently became acquainted with the deceased through social media.