By Barrier Free Japan
July 26 2020
It was reported by many news outlets in Japan that on Thursday 24 July, two doctors were arrested by the Kyoto Prefectural Police for allegedly murdering a woman who had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, at the patient’s request.
The deceased, a woman aged 51 named Yuri Hayashi, ran a blog and a Twitter account.
Her Twitter handle was ‘@tangoleo2018’ in which she detailed her worries about her ALS, and her thoughts and intentions about her right to choose the manner of her death:
Hayashi was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) around 2011 after having moved back home to Kyoto to live with her parents. She had studied at Doshisha University as well as outside Japan, and had been working at a company in Tokyo. Once diagnosed, she moved out of her parents’ home and lived by herself in Kyoto.
A tweet Hayashi posted on November 9 2019, seemed to suggest she was worried about writing a will (the word ‘himself’ is an error as a result of automatic translation):
Hayashi also kept a blog, where she detailed her experiences of ALS and her desire to seek help to end her life.
In this entry from May 3 2018, Hayashi displays worries about her condition, and, with the phrase “Don’t say that your attendant is guilty of suicide”, seems to express a concern that her caregiver might be accused of her murder:
“I can’t swallow saliva these days and I’ve been coughing all day long.
It’s very spicy. I want to be quick and easy.
I don’t understand why I have to live such a painful life.
I just don’t know. One day passes with coughing and suctioning.
If you know you can’t help it, if you can’t do anything, you should admit euthanasia if you have a clear awareness and a clear intention. At least with such a body going abroad
So I want you to forgive me for being euthanized. Don’t say that your attendant is guilty of suicide!”
On November 25 2019 – Hayashi reportedly died on November 30 2019 – tweeted about her desire not to be resuscitated should she lose consciousness:
Hayashi was reportedly found in an unconscious state by her caregiver on November 30, after which the police were called. The two doctors were later arrested on suspicion of murder.