In Japan, it’s very difficult to commit truly violent crimes. A combination of the strictest gun laws found anywhere along with the Japanese people’s uniquely collective mindset makes Japan one of the safest countries in the world. To this end, whenever a criminal incident resulting in several deaths occurs here, the event easily stands out and generates a great deal of shock in the populace. This is the reaction of Japan itself to a vicious rampage of a knife-wielding suspect who killed 19 victims at a care center for the disabled in Sagamihara.
According to BBC, the perpetrator was a former employee of the Tsukui Yamayuri-en care facility and resident of Sagamihara, a suburb in Kanagawa prefecture only 50 kilometers away from Tokyo. Satoshi Uematsu, 26 years old, had made earlier threats to kill all of the country’s disabled people, who were originally subjected to silent derision by traditional Japanese.
In the early morning of Tuesday July 26, at around 2:30 AM Tokyo time (5:30 PM GMT), Uematsu entered the Tsukuri Yamayuri-en through a broken window armed with several kitchen knives and other blades, and began attacking several of the center’s 150 patients. Staff members quickly called the police, who arrived at the scene at 3 AM, by which time the suspect was already gone.
After stabbing about 44 people, Uematsu had left quietly and drove himself to the Tsukui police station where he surrendered with his bloodstained murder weapons after admitting his deed, explaining that he wanted all disabled people to disappear.
His attack left 19 people dead and 25 wounded, 20 of which severely. The victims were 10 men and 9 women, all between the ages of 19 and 70. This death toll is the worst in a violent mass killing ever done in Japan ever since the 1995 Tokyo subway Sarin Gas attack by the Aum Shinrikyo doomsday cult, which left thousands of sick casualties and 13 fatalities.
Uematsu had earlier in February written letters to the Japanese Diet (legislature) where he proposed the mandatory euthanasia of disabled Japanese. This apparent motivation and the following horrific act was a shocking surprise to his Sagamihara neighbors, who knew the man as having studied to be a teacher and very good at handling children. It was also not clear as of this writing if Uematsu was still actively employed at the Tsukui Yamayuri-en or had either been fired or quit before carrying out his Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga called a press conference shortly after news of the attack got out, describing it as "a very heart-wrenching and shocking incident in which many innocent people became victims…The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare would ensure this kind of incident does not happen again. ”
He also assured the public that Uematsu acted on his own without any connection to global terror groups like ISIS.
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