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Doctor gets 18 years for consensual killing of woman with ALS

37 Comments

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37 Comments
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Seems more like a consensual planned departure allowing a terminally ill woman to choose death with dignity. On social issues like this, Japan remains so primitive.

10 ( +34 / -24 )

Japans legal system at its worse again! Real killers and criminals get far less punishment than this doctor! Euthanasia by medical professionals should be legalized instead of letting people commit suicide and die in a worse painful death!

-10 ( +18 / -28 )

On social issues like this, Japan remains so primitive.

In a way yes and no. While I'm a supporter of euthanasia, I can understand Japan's hesitancy. After all there appear to be many scammers who could take advantage of the situation, and let's not forget about the amount of corruption that pervades JP society.

There is a chance that a fair bit of misuse could occur.

Proper standards must be set.

11 ( +19 / -8 )

Prosecutors had argued that the case "did not fulfill the minimum requirement for euthanasia."

What does this mean? I was under the impression euthanasia is illegal in Japan.

14 ( +15 / -1 )

There's something else going on here;

"Under the Penal Code, a person who kills someone at the request of that person or with their consent can face a prison term of between six months and seven years."

and

A doctor was sentenced on Tuesday to 18 years in prison...

So he was sentenced to 2 and a half times the statutory limit. Presumably this is a second-offense punishment; reflecting the previous assisted suicide of Yamamoto's father in 2011.

The law allows for empathy, wherever due. Hence the minimum sentence can be as low as 6 months . In this case however, it seems the law went in with boots on.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

After all there appear to be many scammers who could take advantage of the situation, and let's not forget about the amount of corruption that pervades JP society.

There is a chance that a fair bit of misuse could occur.

This reasoning could apply to everything in society.

Two years ago, a sightseeing tour boat sank off Hokkaido's Shiretoko Peninsula leaving 26 people dead or missing. A government report later indicated that the operating company lacked personnel for operating the boat safely, and the boat and its communications devices were not maintained sufficiently.

Should we halt all sightseeing tour boats because of the “potential for misuse”? Or should we rather ensure that the safety regulations in place are followed?

3 ( +10 / -7 )

Yes, proper procedures should be followed so perhaps this doctor was out of line. That being said, the punishment is waaay too harsh. Physician assisted suicides should be allowed. If Japan is behind the times so is the US and most of the world. ALS is the most horrible death I can imagine. That is one disease for which I would beg for help to die. They would put down animals, so why should humans suffer in pain, with paralysis, or other ugly horrors to have to live through.

14 ( +17 / -3 )

Had a friend die from MND. Horrible. Can understand this person wishing to die with dignity and understand the doctor granting her that wish.

15 ( +18 / -3 )

Japan is so far behind other countries on this. I have a friend who's dying of cancer with no chance of survival. Before the cancer spreads even more and the pain becomes too unbearable for her. She has already decided the day she's going to move on to the next stage. In Japan this is illegal? How cruel!

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

Once again I bring up the topic of my post a few days again - an "in family" murder of a 3 year old girl by the mother (and partner) in a most cruel and painful manner results in a 2 year sentence.

This case of consensual death with apparently no pain or cruelty, results in an 18 year sentence.

Many points about euthanasia still need to be discussed, but the difference in approach and sentencing to both cases by the judiciary is shocking in the least.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

"Consensual killing" is still killing. It's still murder.

And please, hold the comments along the lines of "you must not have had any loved ones ever die after suffering through a prolonged disease."

(I always 'love' it when people make arguments like that, based on false presumptions about people they've never met. They seem to appear on the Internet at infestation levels.)

I've lost both my parents to cancer, not to mention other family members from that or from other prolonged health issues. It's a rare person who hasn't experienced this, tragically.

But my parents never once even allowed suicide or "consensual killing" to enter into their minds.

And with them and their deaths in mind, the idea that experiencing pain and suffering automatically means "no dignity" is infuriatingly offensive to me.

-4 ( +8 / -12 )

Without knowing the details of the case, to any reasonable person this merciless sentence given to the doctor seems waaaay over the top when we compare it those handed down for other far heinous killings. Again the state reveals its teeth and claws to keep control and repress the freedom to die. We, the people, need to take back control and force them to legalize euthanasia. My body does not belong to the state!

2 ( +5 / -3 )

That’s a horrible unjust sentence. The woman who killed 2 children by torture got 2 years. Instead of giving a medal to the doctor, court gave such a heavy sentence. It’s shame!

12 ( +13 / -1 )

To tell you the truth I live in the US, so I don't have intimate knowledge of your laws. I do read JT every day and have seen other crimes including murder that got a lesser sentence. As soon as I read the headline for this story I thought that it sounded like a really long sentence.

Personally I think we should all have the right to chose the time of our death, with common sense restrictions. There are only a few states that allow euthanasia in the US, I wish there were more, but religion stands in the way. Anyway I hope they find a way to lesson the sentence of what sounds to me to be a empathic doctor.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

This is just very very, very sad.

What purpose is served by prosecuting this doctor? No winners here, everybody loses, including society.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

This 18 years is harsh.

But why did the doctor kill the father too? This is murder.

Also the doctor seems a little too eager to kill someone. He euthanized this person only after one meeting?

A doctor euthanizing someone only after one meeting isn't even allowed in counties which have euthanasia.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Euthanasia, is only legal in about 8 countries world wide, In many cases patients choose Passive Euthanasia,  which is generally understood to include withholding or withdrawing treatment, with the intent and expectation that death will occur sooner rather than later. The countries where it is legal normally requires that two doctors are present and that they both agree.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

@asiaman

Should we halt all sightseeing tour boats because of the “potential for misuse”? Or should we rather ensure that the safety regulations in place are followed?

Well the only regulations in regards to euthanasia are that it's illegal. So I think there should be some.

As for your comment about the ferry. Since the ferry involved was understaffed they were breaking the regulations in place. So there must've been a penalty for that right?

Companies that are upholding the regulations are fine.

As you say there is potential for misuse in everything. So there should be rules that attempt to lessen that factor.

Thanks for listening to my TED talk.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japan is so far behind other countries on this.

Many countries same. UK for example. There's a case right now in the UK, a lady who wants to go to Dignitas in Switzerland before her suffering gets too much.

Her daughter wants to be with her holding her hand when she dies, but she cannot because when the daughter returns to the UK she will be arrested immediately for assisting in the suicide.

She will need to go there and die alone if she is to do it.

Backward and terribly cruel policy.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

And with them and their deaths in mind, the idea that experiencing pain and suffering automatically means "no dignity" is infuriatingly offensive to me.

Ridiculously naive and taking offence where none has been given.

The two situations are not mutually exclusive.

The dignity part comes with having the freedom to choose.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

There is a need for legally assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. In Holland, you don't even need to be terminally ill.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

This is disgusting news and does not show Japan in a positive light. Prefer they step in front of a train like so many others or gang themselves alone. Disgusting this wasn’t handled out of courts and absolutely no prison. Absolutely disgusted.

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

It was wrong of  Yoshikazu Okubo and former doctor Naoki Yamamoto to make the assisted suicide not her doctors and only on their first visit. But 18 years of imprisonment is harsh.

It was arranged from the beginning but by whom?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There are times when I read a story and think I must have missed something so read it again only to find that it is something in the story that just does not make sense. Today it is the sentence of 18 years.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

There should be Death With Dignity in every country where an ailing person with regressive medical conditions could ask for peaceful death than be in constant pain day and night.

I for one will opt for it if I have such conditions and save my family all the heartaches.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Another bell-jar sentence. A man helps a woman end her suffering, at HER request, and gets 18 years. Meanwhile, moms murder their kids left and right and get two years.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Mind boggling.

In my mind the doctor is a hero.

Japan is so far behind.......I think there is no hope anymore for this country.

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

"Consensual killing" is still killing. It's still murder.

And please, hold the comments along the lines of "you must not have had any loved ones ever die after suffering through a prolonged disease."

(I always 'love' it when people make arguments like that, based on false presumptions about people they've never met. They seem to appear on the Internet at infestation levels.)

I've lost both my parents to cancer, not to mention other family members from that or from other prolonged health issues. It's a rare person who hasn't experienced this, tragically.

But my parents never once even allowed suicide or "consensual killing" to enter into their minds.

And with them and their deaths in mind, the idea that experiencing pain and suffering automatically means "no dignity" is infuriatingly offensive to me.

Good for them - that was their individual choice.

Others, who wish to die with their version of dignity, and avoid ending their life in pain, should have the right to make their own choice. No one should be forced to suffer for the sake of being "stoic" and "brave".

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Quo PrimumToday 09:08 am JST

Did you do the maximum lifesaving treatment until the very end? Withholding lifesaving treatment could also be considered murder.

And with them and their deaths in mind, the idea that experiencing pain and suffering automatically means "no dignity" is infuriatingly offensive to me.

You don't have to buy the dignity argument. Why not just minimize people's suffering?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I honestly don't see the problem with assisted suicide. Everyone will die at some point, and it makes no sense to force people to live with debilitating medical conditions until the inevitable happens anyway. It's bad for the person, and their families.

I believe assisted suicide will become the norm within a few generations. Japan should at least look at places where it's legal, like Switzerland, and get the conversation started.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I have never understood why euthanasia and assisted suicide is not an option in the majority of countries. We put our pets down if they're in pain and there's nothing more we can do for them; so why doesn't this mentality apply to humans? Why prolong a patient's suffering and pain when they can go peacefully and with dignity? Moreover, it's your life and you should be able to decide if and when and how you want to die.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Japan is so far behind.......I think there is no hope anymore for this country.

So being far behind means, it is impossible to catch up? If this is where your hope dies, then you never had hope to begin with.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The case was more about a doctor playing god, bragging about it (and how he could not be caught) after personally benefitting from the death, not so much about the validity of a proper way to end suffering.

People have worked decades to change how euthanasia (or orthothanasia) is perceived by society so laws can change and patients treated with dignity even in death, but individuals like Okubo have wasted all those efforts by making a terribly negative example of it. More people will die in the middle of inhumane suffering because of him.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Wow, this doctor got more prison time than all the parents who kill their children.

The system is broke.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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