National / Crime & Legal

Alleged Sagamihara killer won't claim lack of criminal responsibility in forthcoming trial

JIJI

Satoshi Uematsu, accused of the 2016 massacre at a care home for people with mental disabilities in Kanagawa Prefecture, has said he will not claim that he is too mentally incompetent to take responsibility for the attack in his upcoming trial.

“I won’t claim that I’m unable to take criminal responsibility,” said Uematsu, who was indicted on charges including killing 19 residents of Tsukui Yamayuri En, in Sagamihara, in an interview with Jiji Press.

Friday will mark the third anniversary of the knifing rampage. Uematsu’s trial is expected to begin in January next year.

In early July, Jiji Press met multiple times with Uematsu, 29, at a detention house in Yokohama.

“Severely disabled people create misery,” he said regarding his reasoning behind the heinous crime, adding that he will not offer further explanation about his motive to those who disagree.

Expressing the belief that his claims have reached people who will serve as lay judges in the trial through media and other channels, Uematsu said he does “not have anything in particular” that he wants to say in the trial.

Uematsu denied that he will bring criminal responsibility into focus during the trial, while noting that he has not discussed the matter in detail with his attorney.

Regarding the possibility of being handed down a death sentence, he nodded and said, “It can’t be helped.”

When asked whether he had considered the possibility before he is alleged to have gone on the stabbing frenzy, he said that the thought of being given a death sentence had been left behind.

“I’m still putting off (the thought),” he continued.

While apologizing for injuring staff members at the care facility, he offered rationalization for the killings, saying that “it is not wrong to euthanize those who are unable to communicate.”

“I know, even before efforts have started, that we won’t be able to realize a symbiotic society,” Uematsu said. The country “will ultimately allow euthanasia,” he added.

Katsuyoshi Kawana, a senior official in a welfare department at the Kanagawa Prefectural Government, said that he cannot accept discriminatory thinking and ideas, such as the views of Uematsu. He stressed that discrimination, prejudice and intolerance for individuals who are deemed different from others still exist in society.

“We plan to deliver messages in order to eradicate discriminatory ideologies,” he said.

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