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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 March 11 - 17  > Notion by which people's lives are rated as worthy or not creates discrimination
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2020 March 11 - 17 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Notion by which people's lives are rated as worthy or not creates discrimination

March 16, 2020
Akahata editorial (excerpts)

The Yokohama District Court on March 16 handed down the death sentence to Uematsu Satoshi, a former caregiver at a facility for the disabled, "Tsukui Yamaruri En", for killing 19 people and injuring 26 at the facility in Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Prefecture.

In the early hours of July 26, 2016, Uematsu broke into the facility and stabbed severely-disabled persons one after another. His brutal method was not the only thing that shocked many people. His words, "The disabled bring only misfortune," further shocked the nation, particularly persons with disabilities and their parents.

The murderer believes that it is proper to deprive "inferior people" of their lives. This is nothing less than "eugenics". Based on this philosophy, during WWII, Nazi Germany systematically killed the disabled. Many people recall this terrifying Holocaust.

In the trial, Uematsu repeatedly presented his own theory hostile to the existence of the disabled. He did not offer any words of remorse or an apology toward the bereaved families and family members of the victims. How did he come to believe in such a peculiar line of thought? This was not unraveled in court. It is said that he worked ardently at the facility at first. Then, why is it that he increased his discrimination and prejudice against persons with disabilities, ending up in committing the mass murder. The question remains unanswered.

Many disabled people paying attention to his trial pointed out the lack of an in-depth look at the relation between what brought about the incident and the role played by Japanese society. His view of disabled persons has many similarities to the idea which values "productivity and economic efficiency" rather than individual dignity. This idea forces people in need to take "self-responsibility" by saying that the efforts they make are still insufficient, and treats the disabled and the elderly as "excess baggage" by saying that they are too costly to maintain to support for. Who can say that this discriminatory, biased, and exclusive ideology has nothing to do with Uematsu's hatred against the disabled? In order to prevent a recurrence, it is necessary to stop such a misguided ideology from gaining legitimacy.

Past related articles:
> 3rd year commemoration of disability hate crime reminds need for society endorsing mutual respect [July 26, 2019]
> Issue of eugenics and disabled in modern Japanese society discussed in context of Nazi’s ‘T4 program’ [February 3, 2019]
> Eugenics still not a thing of the past [July 26, 2018]
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