National

Terminally ill Kyoto woman left will before her assisted death

Kyodo

A 51-year-old woman with Lou Gehrig’s disease had left a will to her father before two doctors allegedly assisted her death at her home in Kyoto last November, investigative sources said Tuesday.

The will by Yuri Hayashi, who had been developing symptoms of the progressive neurological disease since 2011, told her father that there was no need to hold a funeral for her and asked him to use her savings to deal with the aftermath of her death. It was likely prepared shortly before her assisted death, according to the sources.

The disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, causes gradual paralysis with no fundamental treatments established.

She had a computer with a sensor that detects eye movements, allowing words to be typed out on a display screen.

On Thursday, police arrested the doctors — Yoshikazu Okubo, 42, who operates a clinic in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture, and Naoki Yamamoto, a 43-year-old doctor in Tokyo — for allegedly assisting Hayashi’s death by administering her a lethal dose of a sedative on Nov. 30.

The two doctors were not her attending physicians. Hayashi and Okubo are believed to have become acquainted with each other on Twitter and had exchanged messages using the social media for nearly a year prior to her death, the sources said.

Investigators had already discovered that Hayashi had transferred a total of ¥1.3 million ($12,300) into Yamamoto’s bank account in late November.

In posts to her Twitter account last November, she wrote that she was worried about how to create a will and the trouble she might cause to her family after her death.

“I have no assets, but there are favors I want to ask others for,” she wrote in one post, adding she did not wish to have a funeral or a grave.

“I am worried about what the cost would be to take care of things if I die of illness at a rented condo. I don’t want to cause any trouble for my family,” she wrote.

Meanwhile, some of Okubo’s Twitter posts reveal his support for euthanasia, repeatedly mentioning his desire to become like Dr. Kiriko, a character appearing in the late Osamu Tezuka’s “Black Jack” manga series, who euthanizes people who have no prospects for recovery.

In a post in January 2013, Okubo said, “I wrote in my yearbook that my dream is (becoming) Dr. Kiriko because I became well aware of how disconsolate medical care for the aged is by the time I graduated from medical school.”

He again mentioned the manga character in a post in April that year, saying he aspired to be like that.

“I think there are people’s needs (for such a doctor),” it said.

“I always think if I ever open a clinic of my own, I would have to be Dr. Kiriko. I would be assisting death, but I have random ideas that should keep me from being charged.”

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