Sagamihara, Kanagawa Pref. – Mourners Sunday visited the scene of an attack on a care home for people with mental disabilities in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, four years ago, to honor the victims.
An annual memorial ceremony sponsored by the prefectural government was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, mourners prayed for the victims at a flower stand set up in front of the Tsukui Yamayuri En care home.
One of the mourners, Tetsuo Suzuki, 73, whose deceased sister had disabilities, said, "An environment is needed to be created where all people with disabilities live without hesitation."
Takuma Kanaya, 45, whose eldest son, Hiroto, 10, has autism, said, "I hope for a society where people live with a smile while recognizing differences."
Yukie Kono, 45, said: "This was a tragic incident in which innocent people died. It must not be forgotten."
Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa said: "Discrimination against people with disabilities must not be condoned. Our efforts will continue to promote an inclusive society."
In the small hours of July 26, 2016, Satoshi Uematsu, a former worker at the facility, broke in and killed 19 residents, aged between 19 and 70, with a knife while injuring 26 others. His death sentence was finalized in March.