By Barrier Free Japan
August 2 2020
Following the arrest of two doctors alleged to have assisted the suicide of a woman named Yuri Hayashi who had ALS; the former Governor of Tokyo, Shintaro Ishihara, made a comment on Twitter that many regarded as controversial.
In a tweet posted on July 27, Shintaro Ishihara called ALS a “business disease”, and The Asahi Shimbun highlighted that some on Twitter pointed out that “business disease” refers to “an intractable disease that has been thought to come at the expense of an evil business,” and was at best a rude or derogatory term, as it implies that the person who has contracted ALS may be being punished for something done in this, or a previous life.
Shintaro Ishihara later wrote in a tweet on July 31, that he apologized “to those who have misunderstood“, insisting that his comments were “not due to prejudice to describe ALS as a business disease instead of intractable disease“:
“In criticizing the police who arrested the actions of doctors who helped the death of ALS patients with intractable diseases on the suspicion of “murder”, it was not due to prejudice to describe ALS as a business* disease instead of intractable disease. However, I apologize to those who have misunderstood…”
*Twitter auto translated the word as ‘occupational’ but ‘business’ is probably more accurate.