December 14 2021
By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from NHK
KYOTO – A mother accused of murdering her 17-year-old son,who had severe intellectual disabilities , in Kyoto last July has been given a suspended sentence by the Kyoto District Court.
During the trial, the mother, Fumino Sakayama (54) of Sakyo Ward admitted to killing her son, Ryu (17) but the defence argued that she was insane at the time, although the prosecutor’s office demanded a five-year sentence.
On the night of July 17 last year, the mother, Sakayama, allegedly gave her 17-year-old son sleeping pills and strangled him with a belt-like object, killing him.
According to statements by the prosecution and the defence, the defendant was a single parent, suffering from depression herself and caring for her eldest son, who had severe intellectual disabilities, as well as her elderly mother, who showed signs of dementia.
Prior to the incident, the defendant had been worried about what would happen to her son after he graduated from the high school.
Two weeks before the incident, they visited an employment support facility in Kyoto to look for a job after graduation, but the facility refused to accept him because he had difficulty using the toilet by himself. The day before the incident, they had a meeting with the son’s homeroom teacher at the support school to discuss his future career, but he felt that he did not receive any concrete advice, which made him feel anxious about his future.
On the day of the incident, they also visited another employment support facility, but decided against using it because it did not offer transport.
That night, when the mother was changing her clothes after taking a bath, her son ripped her clothes and tried to throw her in his arms, which further deepened her sense of hopelessness about the future and led to the crime.
After the incident, the defendant attempted suicide and left a suicide note.
The suicide note read: “I’m tired of everything. When I think about the future, I can’t find an answer to who I should leave him with, so I’m taking him with me. I am sorry. I’m sorry I couldn’t raise him properly. I’m sorry that I couldn’t raise her properly, and please use the rest of the money for something that will benefit the disabled.
At the verdict on the 13th, Kyoto District Court Judge Keisuke Masuda said: “The loss of the precious life of a 17-year-old with great potential for the future is a tragic result. She wrote in her notebook that she was hesitant about committing the crime, and that she still had the ability, albeit limited, to dissuade herself from committing the crime,” the judge said, pointing out that she was not insane, but was in a state of mental exhaustion.
The defendant added: “I was tired of taking care of my eldest son, who has a serious disability, and although I took various measures, I could not find an institution that would accept him after he graduated, which meant that I was in a situation that could lead to despair.
She was sentenced to three years imprisonment, suspended for five years, on the grounds that there was a great deal of sympathy for how came to commit the crime and she admitted to the murder and regretted it.