Japan, a country that was once considered one of the safest in the world, has once again experienced a mass killing and this time the deadliest yet. A man who claimed he wanted to kill disabled people left at least 19 dead and 26 others injured after a knife attack at a care facility.
The Tsukui Yamayuri En (Tsukui Lily Garden) facility in Sagamihara, south of Tokyo, which was supposed to be a restive home for the disabled, became a slaughter house when 26-years old, Satoshi Uematsu, started a killing spree at about 2.30am local time, before driving to the nearby Tsukui police station to turn himself in.
He was said to have been carrying a bag full of knives and other sharp-edged tools, some of which were bloodstained when he handed himself in.
“I did it,” the perpetrator, a former employee of the facility was quoted as saying. “It is better that disabled people disappear,” he added.
Police have yet to formally establish a motive although there were speculations that Uematsu had been upset after being fired, but that could not be independently confirmed.
However, Uematsu was “involuntarily committed” to a hospital earlier this year for two weeks after police in the town of Tsukui contacted him in response to a letter he had attempted to pass to the speaker of the lower house of Japan’s parliament, saying he would kill disabled people.
In the letter, Uematsu argued that the government should permit euthanasia for disabled people, said he would be willing to carry out such killings himself, and detailed how he would do it.
“I envision a world where a person with multiple disabilities can be euthanised, with an agreement from the guardians, when it is difficult for the person to carry out household and social activities,” the letter said.
Uematsu’s letter said he could “wipe out a total of 470 disabled individuals” by targeting two facilities for disabled people during the night shift, “when staffing is low”.
“The act will be carried out speedily, and definitely without harming the staff. After wiping out the 260 people in two facilities, I will turn myself in.”
News source said, Uematsu had forced his way into the building by smashing a window with a hammer.
Grueling pictures appeared of emergency workers removing the dead and treating the injured from the two-storey state-run facility, which houses about 150 people.
Amongst the casualties were nine women and 10 men ranging in age from 18 to 70.
Recall that; In 2001, eight children died and 19 other were injured when a man forced his way into a primary school and began a frenzied knife attack.
In 2008, seven people were killed by a man who slammed a truck into a crowd of people in central Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district and then stabbed passers-by.
Fourteen people were injured in 2010 by an unemployed man who stabbed and assaulted bus passengers outside a railway station north-east of Tokyo.
Before Tuesday morning’s mass killing, the deadliest postwar attack committed on Japanese soil occurred in 1995, when members of the Aum Supreme Truth cult released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway, in an attempt to kill civil servants working at government ministries. That attack killed 12.