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Parents of Sasebo girl who allegedly killed friend tried to put daughter in psychiatric ward

Kyodo

The first-year high school student arrested for allegedly killing and dismembering her classmate in Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture, told her stepmother about her desire to kill someone a few days before the grisly slaying last month, and her parents then attempted to admit her in a psychiatric ward but failed, her father revealed Monday through a lawyer.

According to the lawyer, while in a car on the way to a psychiatric consultation on July 23, the girl — with a serious look on her face — told her mother she found it fun to kill cats, and then said she wanted to kill a person.

The lawyer also made public an account written by the father about the family’s exchanges during psychiatric consultations.

According to the document, the mother told the psychiatrist about the girl’s homicide wish on July 23, but the specialist terminated the session by saying, “We don’t have time today.”

The father said that the doctor lacked a sense of urgency.

The lawyer said the account was solely given by the father and not verified by consulting the hospital.

The day before the July 26 killing of 15-year-old Aiwa Matsuo in the suspect’s apartment, the suspect’s parents visited the psychiatric ward and asked if that hospital or another institution could admit her. The request was not granted after the doctor said she would have to be assigned an individual room and other hospitals would find it difficult to meet that requirement, according to the father.

About 20 days before the murder, the doctor told her parents that the girl had killed a cat and suggested that they consult police, according to the father’s account.

On July 25, the day before Matsuo was killed, the parents, after speaking with the doctor, decided to check with a child consultation center instead of bringing the girl directly to the attention of the police, according to the father’s account.

The father called the child consultation center in Sasebo that day but was told that staff had already left for the day and he was asked to call back on Monday, July 28. The father then found out the center is also open on Sundays and decided to go there that Sunday morning, according to the account.

The lawyer said the girl had been seeing a psychiatrist after she hit and injured the father with a baseball bat in March.

The father was told by the psychiatrist around that time that his life would be in danger if he continued to live with his daughter, according to the lawyer. The girl moved to the condominium in April.

She was arrested July 27 after the classmate’s mutilated body was found in the condo.

  • JTCommentor

    An absolute tragedy which could have been avoided if it wasnt for this inaction and conservatism. So many classical warning signs were present, and the parents did the right thing and didnt ignore them, but they, and the victim, were betrayed by a system that is not at all equipped to deal with mental illness in a modern way. A system that ignores the last few decades of learning of mental illness. A system that is more concerned with bureaucracy and fitting things in the right category, the right spot, than considering facts and making decisions.

    While obviously I feel for the victims family, I feel for the parents of this girl, I really do. It seems they did all they could.

    • itoshima2012

      things started to get “hot” 20 days before she killed that girl, now, seriously, in which country would the “system” be so fast? The whole thing is tragic but everything happened so quick that you really can’t blame “the system” (whatever that means)

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        How much time do you need if the girl says she wants to kill someone, she assaults her father, her parents believe she’s capable of murder, as do the mental health professionals who see her? “The system” is indeed to blame.

      • itoshima2012

        teenager do and say many weird things, the girl was monitored, you guys are not suggesting she should have been locked away because she said she wanted to kill somebody? Come on, you playing all the smart ones here, this could have and has happened in many other countries. The “blame the Japanese system” brigade is out in full force here

      • Paul Johnny Lynn

        It matters not if it’s the Japanese system or any other, the girl was an accident (or murder actually) waiting to happen, as forecast by the doctor who examined her. She was monitored you say, but quite obviously, and tragically, not close enough. People such as yourself just feel the need to defend Japan at any and every occasion, do you not? Is it SO difficult to admit that not everything here is perfect?

      • Marusjka

        I`m sorry, I don’t want to be hard on Japan, but in several countries where I had to help with the similar kind of condition, if there has been expressed a 1) wish to commit suicide 2) wish to kill somebody, they (psychiatric ambulance, emergency service etc) take you IMMEDIATELY!!! RIGHT AWAY!!!! So I witnessed the family declining it, but in that case the family bears full responsibility, signs the necessary papers etc.

      • Marusjka

        Sorry for being hard on Japan, but in several countries where I had to help with the similar condition, if there has been expressed a wish 1) to commit suicide 2) to kill somebody, they (psychiatric ambulance, emergency service etc) take you RIGHT AWAY!!! IMMEDIATELY!!!!!!!!!! So in one case I witnessed the family declining it, but in that case they bear the full responsibility, sign the necessary papers, etc

      • JTCommentor

        As others have said, the psychiatric health system. These kinds of issues are not unique, have happened many times before in many places in the world, and there is a knowledge base within the psychiatric network to deal with these things. These things do tend to escilate quickly. Speed and caution is precicely what is warranted, and taking any kind of threat seriously, particuarly when accompanied by behavior such as killing animals and injuring people. 20 days is not enough? I am not sure where you are referencing, but when dealing with a serious threat, 20 days is ample.

        Its not a direct comparison, but if you get on a plane and start talking about a bomb, it does not take 20 days to clear the plan and for you to be arrested.

        There are situations where speed and caution are critical to dealing with a situation before it explodes. This is one of them.

        I am not meaning to single out Japan, I am not sure other countries would have been successful in avoiding this tragedy, however you must acknowledge that the victim, the families, and even the girl who killed were let down in this case. And, its hard to argue that Japan’s views on psychiatric conditions are advanced as the western countries. Issues such as reporting suicides in the media, or even detailed reporting of a crime like this, have been known for half a century in the west to create copy-cats, push vulnerable people to do things they might not have otherwise done. Yet here are the reports, in all of their glory.