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Mass killing sparks debate: Why didn't the system prevent it?

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By Linda Sieg and Minami Funakoshi

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“Involuntary commitment is done forcefully by the authorities…If the time period drags on longer than necessary, it becomes a serious violation of human rights,” Asahi newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday.

You are only concerned because the "rights" of a Japanese person might get stepped on. They hypocrisy of the statement here is laughable!

The safety of the public should be first and in this case the dude IS a sicko and should have been locked up. The ward office also should be taking more heat for this as after he was released they failed to notify the city office in the location of where this guy lived. His address was not in their jurisdiction so they just let it go.

He was supposed to be under supervised observation after released, they failed all those unfortunate victims and more importantly they failed in the jobs to protect the public. Time to fall on their swords, or at least be given a cell next to the guy.

2 ( +9 / -7 )

Why didn't the system prevent it?

What system? It's impossible to detect these kinds of loons if your 'system' is based on a 'head in the sand' mentality.

10 ( +15 / -5 )

After seeing the title of this article I decided it was too silly a statement to bother reading. As IF anyone truly trusts "the system"

2 ( +8 / -6 )

It's pretty easy to detect these kinds of loons when they write exactly what, where, when and how they plan to kill people in a signed letter.

14 ( +16 / -2 )

A similar incident happened some time ago. A young man who works at a facility for the aged commited murder. I think to work at such a place gives a lot of stresses and is very depressing. It is unfortunate that young people have to find jobs at such places.

-12 ( +4 / -16 )

Uematsu gave a broad smile from inside a police van which was caught on camera.

Doctors validating his release made something of an error....

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Well, firstly, Japan lacks modern approaches to mental healthcare. Secondly, the police in Japan simply react to crimes....they don't prevent them.

12 ( +14 / -2 )

Because 'disability' is still a dirty word in Japan and the handicapped in Japan are segregated, or hidden away and by many looked at as a nuisance. The mindset of Uematsu is just an extension of those attitudes. The problem is not about security.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

sparks debate AGAIN. Always talk but no action, that is the problem.

Remember the idol who was stabbed 20 times after she went to the police. Her stabbing also sparked a debate.

The woman and mother who where stalked a few years ago and killed after they went to the police, also sparked a debate.

See a pattern?

debate debate debate debate. ugh

13 ( +14 / -1 )

If there were some security guards, security cameras all over and alarms for breaking in, this psycho might have been stopped before killing. Actually this big facility has no security system. These murders were only matter of time.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

20:20 hindsight is a wonderful thing, for all you armchair experts. Perhaps one day there may be a story of a person complaining that they were forcefully detained in a hospital due to being some kind of risk, then you'll all be whining about Japan being too much like China or some other nonsense.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

Papi -indeed. That is a real problem in Japan -as you say ,always a lot of talk and very little action as nobody wants to be the one making any sort of a decision.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

“Was the treatment and monitoring of the man sufficient”?

I hope that was rhetorical.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I wonder what the treatment was. Two weeks of doing and taking what?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

No "system" can protect the individual. The "system" cannot be everywhere at once though its laws are. When a crisis erupts, it is the individual on the scene who must manage the events as they occur until the "system" arrives to restore order. The individual should be allowed the right to arm themselves and prepare to take their place in local or national history as the moment demands. Gun-free zones are fish tanks for sharks and other predators, and no amount of law will change what hides in a person's heart

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

Human Right should be preserved.

Screw public safety

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Because like most facets of Japan the system just wants to pretend certain elements aren't there and hope they "go away". Why deal with them when you can "gaman" and ignore and someday they'll disappear... maybe.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Two things:

1) Japan LOVES red tape. That's not even taking into the account the eternity of inaction that occurs beforehand.

2) Passing the buck is common practice. It's never anyone's fault.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

@Just a User

Yeah totally eh? If the Japanese authorities detained someone to "prevent" an incident, it would be like a birthday party at Mcdonalds for these boys. (IE Kawabegawa198 - the police in Japan simply react to crimes....they don't prevent them)

Like I've always been saying, people here give 0 consideration about the consistency of their positions so long as they are bashing Japan. They talk about how the Japanese educational system is a complete failure, but all they're doing for me is proving that educational systems in the west is just as impotent.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Why didn't the system prevent it? Very short easy answer, No system can actually prevent crime. Any government which thinks it can prevent crime is actually just putting on a show of appearing to do "something" because solving the problem is actually a hard thing to do.

the answer is to invade and attack the sources of terrorism in the middle east and break the back of their resources making them unable to support any terror, unable to run their pyscho country, unable to recruit and coordinate. In your own country, it really is just track them down based on evidence and put them away.

But all of the above is very hard to do. It is easier to pretend to "prevent" crime because it looks like you are doing something but the reality is checking grandmas suitcase at the airport or at the mall or any other crime prevention action, only affects law abiding people, it has no effect on the criminals.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Perhaps one or more of those critical of the Japanese system would be so kind as to suggest a national system that has a better track record of preventing psychos from carrying out a mass killing.

Anyone can criticize.

Name the national system that you think and can prove with hard data that has done a better job. Explain what your recommended system has that the Japanese system does not.

-3 ( +7 / -10 )

“Most mentally ill patients do not do such a thing,” Matsumoto added, referring to the killings.

Do most mentally ill express the intent to kill 470 people?

“It’s an extremely exceptional case. I’m worried that because of such an exceptional case, the rights of people who are trying to get better will be restricted.”

In letting this "exceptional case" person out after a couple of weeks, he has subsequently gone on to take actions that not only caused tremendous loss to the victims and their families, but he himself will likely be locked away for the rest of his life. The system has failed him as much as it has failed society.

If Abe wants to spend tax money, rather than build maglev trains why not get the country better equipped with appropriately trained mental health care practitioners and run some public awareness campaigns?

I won't complain about my taxes getting spent on that.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Might be weird of me. In the danchi where I live there's an extra large woman maybe in her 40's who used to howl in expletives as if she's fighting with someone. And when I saw her mother who was on crutches and definitely living on welfare, I chuckled. Some people need govt support to start life anew but their kind need the support for the rest of their lives and I wonder if they ever feel gratitude for that. I use to wonder why they ever live when all they give is nuisance and emotional burden. Good thing the howling stopped but whenever I see her with that facial grimace as if ready to fight someone I just feel that human sympathy is misplaced and so is the public taxes. But surely this kind of mass murder gives a hard kind of thoughts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Again, yes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The murderer wrote to the House of Representative Chairman, Oshima, to tell PM Abe, whom he followed to gain inspiration and reward ($5 mil.), but chaiman reported to the Municipal Police, who reported to Kanagawa Police, who reported to Tsukui Police, who reported to the facility. No one took responsibility as the system (just like someone).

http://ameblo.jp/usinawaretatoki/entry-12184564272.html

5 ( +5 / -0 )

According to the NHK the system did not prevent it because his letter detailing the plans of the attack he went on to carry out, was put down to temporary insanity caused by the marijuana. The letter was weird. He said "Oh that!? I was just high out f my head," and they believed him and let him go.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

"Perhaps one or more of those critical of the Japanese system would be so kind as to suggest a national system that has a better track record of preventing psychos from carrying out a mass killing."

For your edification? No thanks. A double-digit mass killing takes place in Japan, and you react by looking for a way to lure others into taking your bait and then showing that other countries are no better at dealing with would-be mass killers? Again, no thanks.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

At what point are they going to work in that he was into "Conspiracy Theories" I wonder....

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A double-digit mass killing takes place in Japan, and you react by looking for a way to lure others into taking your bait and then showing that other countries are no better at dealing with would-be mass killers? Again, no thanks.

I'm not reacting to the "double-digit mass killing." I'm reacting to the comments about Japanese institutional patterns and structures being aired here.

Anyone can say that they didn't work. That's obvious. So tell us what works better.

If you cannot point to a better model, what is the point of knocking Japan? There may well be some very serious defects in the Japanese system. The most effective way of getting those defects fixed is to point to a system that is more effective.

Japanese officials are always citing foreign models to justify change in Japan. So, which foreign model demonstrably does a better job in preventing mass killings?

You and the others are not criticizing Japan and the Japanese just for the sake of criticizing Japan and the Japanese, right? You want to make constructive suggestions that lead to improvement and prevent this kind of thing from happening again, right?

OK. Where's the model.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

"The system" can not "prevent" everything. If the guy had been imprisoned simply for saying outrageous things, there would be justifiably complaints about that.

It is simply impossible to set up a "system" that prevents all crime.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"The most effective way of getting those defects fixed is to point to a system that is more effective."

Uh, no. The most effective way of getting defects fixed is...to fix them. Who besides you decided that pointing to an overseas system that is more effective is the most effective way of fixing defects in any kind of system?

"Japanese officials are always citing foreign models to justify change in Japan. So, which foreign model demonstrably does a better job in preventing mass killings?"

You have repeatedly made it clear in other comments that you really, really don't care for Japanese officials who cite foreign models to justify change in Japan. So why on earth are you asking people here to do something that you clearly don't care for and find objectionable?

2 ( +3 / -1 )

What system? It's impossible to detect these kinds of loons if your 'system' is based on a 'head in the sand' mentality.

Bingo. How many times have you seen belligerent loons on a JR train? Japanese people bury their heads into the sand in this scenario too, or move over to the next car.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

If the American political system cannot prevent itself from accepting and letting known criminals get elected to office, how would anyone expect Japan to weed out such vermin. Look how long it took them to get rid of the former Tokyo Governor.

Many things are based on trust..trusting information, and the politician that received the letter ignored it, and should be held accountable for murder. Just my thoughts.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I didn't read every comment, but "head in the sand" mentality is the perfect wording.

If the doctor cleared him for release, then he's cleared for the noose too, right?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I think that the doctors should be called into question here, "tested positive for marijuana use and exhibited signs of paranoia" why on earth did they sign him off as ok? he also made some serious threats to kill 470 people. I am no shrink but this combination would be telling me this guy is going no where!. and as for those lawyers, don't they just get in they way? shure this guy has human rights, and so do the public, they need to be kept safe from people that have paranoia and say they are going to kill people. i hope these lawyer are now going to go around to these victims relatives houses with a big bunch of flowers and explain to the victims relatives to explain what a mess they have made, and once this guy had been released he was to "have an eye kept on him" Oh dear! what a farce, someone here should be held responsible for there bad/poor decision. and who is responsible for the security in the hospital? this is adding up to inept incompetence.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Uh, no. The most effective way of getting defects fixed is...to fix them. Who besides you decided that pointing to an overseas system that is more effective is the most effective way of fixing defects in any kind of system?

Those who have been criticizing Japan in relative terms in this case and overall a whole range of issues that have come up in JT discussions presumably know of a foreign model that works better. I want to know what it is.

If you have a foreign model that is working better you have some reason to believe that a fix based on it might work. If you think up something on your own from scratch, something that has never been done elsewhere, you are leaping into the dark.

You have repeatedly made it clear in other comments that you really, really don't care for Japanese officials who cite foreign models to justify change in Japan. So why on earth are you asking people here to do something that you clearly don't care for and find objectionable?

I don't care for Japanese officials who cite foreign models or foreign pressure when they do so as a cover for something they have arbitrarily decided to do and which is typically a perversion of the foreign model. I have no objection to bureaucrats looking to foreign models for ideas. Indeed, I would encourage them to do so and consider them derelict in their duties if they don't.

What I do not like is the "We have to do X because that's what they do in country Y" mechanistic approach in general and in particular when the bureaucrats have already decided on policy Z and are just trying to sell it to the public as the latest and greatest from some usually European country.

In other words, if the Koreans have done great things in some area, let's learn from them. If the Norwegians have done great things in some area, let's learn from them. But, let's not do something because it's the latest fad, and especially let's not do something either because bureaucrats see a chance to extend their power or just to stifle foreign criticism.

But, to get back to my question. The Japanese system failed in this case. Many posters have made statements using comparative terminology. That says to me they know of better models else where. OK. There may well be.

So, once again I'm asking

What are the better models? Where are they?

If there are no better, no more effective models, what is the point of criticizing the Japanese system? Saying "the system is broken" doesn't get it fixed. So what is the fix? Where is it? You don't expect the people who created the the broken system to be able to come up with the fix do you? That's where the JT commentators come in. Point us to the blueprint for a better system.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

What countries did most of you become educated in? Totalitarian? Yes, it's normal in democracies for the government not to be able to forcibly detain individuals unless they have actually committed crimes. Pre-emptive detainment, especially for mental disorders is one of the most common form of abuse by police states. Be careful what you wish for out of ignorance and fear. Your suggested cure is far more damaging to society than an occasional abomination.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Every time this sort of incident occurs, I always feel that our society has no solid system to clarify who is responsible for what. People argue this for a while but in the meantime they easily put it into oblivion and never care about their doing so. This is why we have the same kind of misery again and again. We really need to establish a social system where "who takes what responsibility when things happened?" is specifically stipulated. We must not leave this in ambiguity in the name of human right.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MsDelicious,

"the politician that received the letter ignored it"

Why do people keep repeating this fallacy? The letter was immediately turned over to police and Uematsu resultingly lost his job and was forcibly hospitalized.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Article: “Involuntary commitment is done forcefully by the authorities…If the time period drags on longer than necessary, it becomes a serious violation of human rights,” Asahi newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday.

Yubaru: You are only concerned because the "rights" of a Japanese person might get stepped on. They hypocrisy of the statement here is laughable! The safety of the public should be first

Absolutely not. Rights (without quotation marks - they're a very real and very important thing) come first. It's a sad point to make in light of a terrible tragedy like this, because the deaths and injuries in Kanagawa are a terrible tragedy and cannot be overlooked. However, while the authorities were certainly wrong to set this sicko free, and need to have their system seriously overhauled in order to prevent situations like this, it's absolutely necessary to draw a thick line to separate their jurisdiction from the essential liberties of citizens of a free society. There are lots of medical conditions that may be "irregular" but are harmless - to give public officials broad authority to make judgment calls is to risk destroying the life of an innocent person.

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." -Benjamin Franklin

1 ( +2 / -1 )

" I think to work at such a place gives a lot of stresses and is very depressing. It is unfortunate that young people have to find jobs at such places".

Having worked in several institutions for both the psychiatrically and the intellectually disabled, I doubt very much that the environment was the primary cause of the murderer's mental problems. Staff in places like this, even young staff, usually have great camaradarie BECAUSE the work is difficult and onerous. No, he would have had long-term psychiatric or, more likely, personality problems himself prior to appointment. This sort of problem happens around the world, I'm afraid, as does the failure of medical people to protect the public from such dangerous people by keeping them locked away, thanks to the overly liberal reliance on individual rights over that of the rest of us to be safe. Psychiatry really needs to take a close look at itself and the mental health acts it works to.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It more like this. Two doctor pass this patient Fit, So quality insureane was not the error. The only variable is the quality of the doctors. Both could be incompetent, a rarity but aposiblity. If this is the case the person who selected these two doctor has selected other doctors which is a bigger worry. It has to come down to one thing for these many error. You Pay Peanuts you get monkeys.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

bullfighter: "But, let's not do something because it's the latest fad, and especially let's not do something either because bureaucrats see a chance to extend their power or just to stifle foreign criticism."

This isn't about fads or stifling foreign criticism (unless in actually making a system that doesn't just try to wish a problem away has the added bonus of doing so), it's about dealing with mental health instead of ignoring it until a massacre occurs... then pretending to care until they can ignore it again (which takes about two or three days here).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The system didn't work because it is built upon a flawed premise, that Japan is safe.

Rule #1. Japan is Safe.

Rule#2. If faced with a sitution that appears to be unsafe, refer to rule #1.

Japan is safe, no further action required.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

The system didn't work because it is built upon a flawed premise, that Japan is safe.

Confrontations are avoided in Japan. This very passive behavior is ingrained into their culture. Whenever I'm on a JR railway and there is belligerent drunk salary man, I never bury my head in the sand. Just wait for him to cross that line and put em' in check.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

"I have no objection to (Japanese) bureaucrats looking to foreign models for ideas."

Sorry, but I don't think you actually believe what you wrote there. In your comments, whether intended or not, you consistently come across as a person who thinks Japan has nothing worthwhile to learn from any foreign country regarding anything. It's quite common for citizens of wealthy, stable, successful countries to feel this way, and there's nothing wrong with feeling that way about Japan or anywhere else. Just come out and express that opinion if you really feel that way, rather than running around in circles pretending otherwise for who knows what reason.

"In other words, if the Koreans have done great things in some area, let's learn from them. If the Norwegians have done great things in some area, let's learn from them."

Again, I think you just write this kind of stuff to get people to take your bait. I can easily predict what would happen if somebody decided to engage with you and cited Country X as a place that has put into practice an effective way of stopping would-be mass killers: You would upload a comment with a link to an article from somewhere showing that Country X failed to stop a mass killer from carrying out an attack, etc. Therefore, Country X doesn't offer a good model for Japan to follow.

"If there are no better, no more effective models, what is the point of criticizing the Japanese system?"

To vent one's feelings of frustration. You may view this as being pointless, but others see it as an effective stress reliever. What I find truly pointless is to object to and complain over and over again about a bunch of anonymous comments written by people whom you don't know and will never meet in real life. You may find this hard to believe, but not everybody uploads comments to an anonymous online forum with the intention of changing the world, not even one tiny bit. In fact, virtually nobody uploads comments anonymously with that intention.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

There are always armchair quarterbacks and sofa-recliner experts who come out of the woodwork and say this or that could've been done. Like someone else mentioned, 20-20 vision hindsight always is. In this case, the perpetrator detailed what he was going to do and how many he was going to off had he been given the opportunity. He is sent to a mental hospital and stays there - what, two? three days? - and is then set free by his doctor. No judgment of the doctor will come from me, as people such as this Uematsu can fake and fool the system. However, I noticed when living in Japan that being disabled in any fashion was something to be hidden: a shameful thing, almost. Would this attitude being changed have helped this situation? Would it have prevented this crime? It probably would't have. It seemed this person Uematsu was bent on doing his deed, and when given the chance, he did it. Evil always finds a way. If he hadn't done his deed at a mental hospital, there are other places and other ways where he could have and probably would have vented his evil.

No system on the face of this Earth is 100% foolproof. No one country has total and complete insight on hos tragedies such as this can be prevented. Yes, better security systems and armed - or at the very least, highly observant - security guards could have prevented this, but even such is not 100% foolproof.

I guess my point of this post is simply to say, there are proactive measures that can be taken to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. Diligent observance, talking frustrations and anger out, and - if need be - professional counseling can be deterrents, and they don't have to dissuade nor nullify personal freedoms.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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