A somber case is currently making its way through the Japanese legal system as a 93-year-old man goes on trial for killing his wife, apparently at her request. This heartbreaking case has made headlines in Japan and evoked a gut-wrenching testimony from their eldest daughter.
The man, who remains unnamed despite intense media scrutiny, is on trail for ending his wife’s life on January 2, 2014 by strangling her with a necktie. His 83-year-old wife had been suffering from light dementia and experiencing reduced mobility, resulting in repeated falls and injury. She apparently implored her husband to take her life since she “didn’t want to be a burden to her family,” and left behind a note with statements to the same effect.
The couple’s eldest daughter, who often visited to help out, said in her testimony that her father had come to be responsible for the running of the entire household, taking care of everything from the shopping to cleaning and cooking. She also revealed that her mother had broken a bone last October and that the pain was keeping her from sleeping.
The couple met at work in Asakusa, Tokyo, and had been married for about 60 years with three children.
The 93-year-old man explained how his wife had begged him to take her life, telling the court: “My wife said, ‘I can’t do anything. I’m just in pain,’ and I couldn’t refuse anymore.”
The man described how he lay next to his wife during her final moments and thought back to when they had first met. “She was smiling and she was very beautiful,” he told the court. “I still love her.”
The couple’s eldest daughter, meanwhile, said that she wished she had noticed what was happening sooner. Before the court, she apologized to her father, saying that she had not been aware that her mother’s situation was so desperate.
The prosecution is requesting that the husband be imprisoned for five years, arguing that while it was certainly a difficult decision for the 93-year-old to make, it was possible that his wife was not entirely sincere in her requests for her husband to end it all, arguing that she may have simply been “grumbling” due to her poor health.
“I wish I had been a better man and could have responded better.” the accused is reported to have said. “I will listen to whatever the court says.”
The verdict will be handed down in July.
As Japan’s population ages, these cases seem to be more common. A similar case recently occurred in Yokohama, involving an 87-year-old man who strangled his older sister at her request.
Source: Asahi Shimbun
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