YOKOHAMA – A care home where a former employee murdered 19 residents and wounded 27 others in July failed to share information about him or take his threats seriously before the massacre, an independent panel said in a report released Friday.
The panel, set up by the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, said Tsukui Yamayuri En, a facility for people with mental disabilities situated in Sagamihara, acted “extremely inappropriately” by failing to share knowledge that may have affected the fates of its residents.
“If the information had been shared with the prefecture, the damage could have been avoided,” the panel said of the knife rampage.
However, the report did not go into detail about the responses of the prefectural government or the police, or discuss whether there was appropriate collaboration.
Receiving the report, Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa said, “We want to do all we can so that a similar incident will never happen again.”
The governor added that he wants to revise the prefecture’s guidelines so that care facilities will report information about threats to their security managers.
According to the report, police told the facility to bolster security by assigning a larger number of employees at night after Satoshi Uematsu, 26, delivered a letter in February to the speaker of the House of Representatives warning that he intended to cause harm at the facility.
After Uematsu was released from a mental hospital in March, police told the care facility he had discussed committing mass murder of disabled people and might come to the facility.
The facility bolstered its night shift but failed to report the matter to the prefectural government or impress upon its employees the seriousness of the situation, the report said.
“If the facility had reported to the prefecture, security equipment or security personnel could have been bolstered. There was a problem in its crisis management,” the report said.
To prevent a recurrence, the panel suggested care facilities designate a person to take charge of crisis management and share information with the prefectural government or police. It also urged them to install security cameras or alarms.
Uematsu allegedly attacked the facility’s residents with a knife in the early hours of July 26 after breaking a window to enter the ground floor. He had worked at the facility from December 2012 to February this year, but quit after making outbursts about euthanizing disabled people.
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