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Relatives worried mass stabber was becoming recluse

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Now the truth starts to come out and BAM, the social services/welfare workers dropped the fricking ball, because they feared he would "go off?"

These folks are now, in my opinion, criminally complicit with the deaths and mayhem that this man wreaked.

Another example of the "koumuin" not doing their damn jobs!

7 ( +17 / -10 )

Once again in the Age of Outrage, people are angry.

Look, this is NOT a precise science. Figuring out who is going to go off and stab people, vs who is just a bit of a nutter but not dangerous, is not easy, particularly when for every nutter, there are so many more that are not dangerous. Ever hear that line about how Edison invented the light bulb once, but failed 1000 times before that? The converse is true too - these people failed once, but you don't see the 1000 successes before that. Trying to deal with family issues, and people who are not in-line socially, often with poverty and sickness involved, is an impossible job.

People who think that these types of situations are entirely preventable are doing themselves a disservice, but also society. Making comments calling for the heads of the social workers - the people who are out there taking care of those in society the rest of us don't take care of - is socially irresponsible. Particularly when people are castigating the lack of mental care in a country.

Did this incident happen? Yeah. Did these people receive some information that in hindsight turned out to have been an indicator of what may come? Yeah. Is that because of their work, or in spite of it? Well you can blame them I guess, but let's see how many people want to get in the profession, knowing that if they drop the ball they are going to be demonized.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

Talked to a colleague yesterday about the incident the other day and she told me about her 36 year old nephew who's a hikikomori. This all started when he was 12. The family pushed him to attend a top JHS and after failing sent him to a boarding school in another prefecture, where he spent the next 6 years. He was bullied mercilessly for most of the time but his family failed to bring him home or change schools. For the nearly 20 years since he's been a shut in (in this case, it seems only just that his parents reap what they sowed). I didn't ask if about his mental condition but even if he was a normal kid OUAT, he surely isn't now. Those in solitary confinement face impairment after extremely short periods--what do decades spent alone do to a person's mental health? Anyone who has spent a significant amt. of time in Japan knows of several teenagers or, later, adults who fit this description. As the article indicates, even if families seek help, what is available to them. We know the police can't do a thing until something bad happens.

It's my contention that what's triggering these crimes is the growing awareness on the part of adult hikikomori that their caregivers aren't going to be around much longer. They're either seeking a different caregiver (prison) or suicide, albeit all too frequently after taking innocents with them.

The state can't solve all of these problems but when I hear about Abe's "outrage," I wonder if he's willing to challenge orthodoxy across society: high pressure education/exam culture, stigmatization of the mentally ill, the enormous cost more robust and interventionist mental health care would involve etc. B/C I'm sorry, if additional baton-wielding crossing guards is the end all/be all of the solution, then he's basically saying we're on our own. Akie and I didn't have kids and our privileged peers have their children driven to school by white-gloved chauffeurs. The rest of you, ganbatte!

17 ( +17 / -0 )

The relatives are also responsible for his actions. They didn't want to incite him? The Japanese way of saying, if we ignore it it might go away

6 ( +8 / -2 )

There seems to have been several warning signs here that were ignored.

Social services seems to be hiding behind administration rather than actually getting out there and meeting or interviewing people. Even if they did meet him, would they have been able to do anything?

I am wondering how many more cases are out there of people who don’t have any friends, support structure or the tools to deal with the modern world. Not all of them will crack and commit violent acts of course, but it’s really a sad reflection on society.

How the hell did it get like this and is this the future?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Look, this is NOT a precise science. Figuring out who is going to go off and stab people, vs who is just a bit of a nutter but not dangerous, is not easy, 

Dont be apologetic for this man here please. You are going to come back and make a comment to the effect that you are "talking in generalities" and not about specifics, to cover your own statement.

However this IS about THIS man and THIS case and the social services folks dropped the ball big time. Even the article states, which DIRECTLY contradicts your comment I quoted here, as they, the welfare folks, KNOWING there was a problem,

But the center did not contact the 51-year-old man after a request from his aunt and uncle, with whom he lived, out of concern that it could "incite" him, they said.

Even his relatives knew he was "off", and they couldnt do more than put a letter in front of his door?

but let's see how many people want to get in the profession, knowing that if they drop the ball they are going to be demonized.

Not even close, the people didnt even pick up the damn ball, and they deserve to be demonized because they didnt even get in contact with the man when they KNEW, they KNEW he was at risk, they KNEW he was a problem, and all they did was talk with relatives and among themselves but not once did they actually contact him or talk with him face to face

Wait for the article about "what should be done in situations like this" rather than look to justify the inaction of the very people charged with keeping an eye out on problems like this man!

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

The relatives are also responsible for his actions.

No they are not.

And that's not a grey area. They are not responsible for his actions.

9 ( +13 / -4 )

Dont be apologetic for this man here please.

I wasn't. I curse this man's name and everything about him.

Please re-read my post, and you'll see that you misread it the first time. Then I'll be happy to address your comments.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

social services folks dropped the ball big time.

It's always someone's fault in the Age of Outrage™.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Social services seems to be hiding behind administration rather than actually getting out there and meeting or interviewing people.

Are they? Have you actually spent any time, even 3-4 seconds, actually looking to see if they meet or interview people, and what the ratio of meeting people to not is? Did you fact check yourself at all?

7 ( +9 / -2 )

No they are not. And that's not a grey area. They are not responsible for his actions.

Wonder if you know that one of Abe's planned changes for the constitution is to make it a part of the law here for families and relatives to be financially responsible for indigent relatives.

It is quite common for municipal authorities to take action against or for relatives, depending upon the situation and very few, if any, make any complaints nor take any actions to prevent them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Relatives are scared of him.

The octogenarian couple is scared of him.

The octogenerian couple is not getting home care, because they are afraid of what he would do to the nurses.

Sure, there was no hint that he would go out on a rampage, but the possibility of harm here is something that should have been caught and dealt with by any social worker. No one casually tells an official that they are afraid of a relative unless they have a reason to be so. Reading the case, him stabbing the octogenarian couple actually is a predictable outcome. The fact that he took the violence outside was unpredictable, but the violence was already there.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Wonder if you know that one of Abe's planned changes for the constitution is to make it a part of the law here for families and relatives to be financially responsible for indigent relatives.

Law does not always exist in line with morality and what is correct.

Punishing relatives is an extreme move by people who want to blame someone, nay, anyone, in the Age of Outrage.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Even if they knew he was a recluse, how many recluses kill children in a rampage?

What’s the alternative? Breaking down the guy’s door and confronting him? Forced hospitalization? Nobody knows what another person’s intentions are, so how do you justify that while upholding people’s basic human rights? But even if you do manage to rationalize it, you’re going to have to hospitalize what was the number, 600,000 people or something?

I agree with @Strangerland, the event was horrific, but blaming society for the actions of individuals is not constructive. The guy knew what he was doing was wrong (he killed himself after all), and yet he still did it. Very few people in the same circumstances do this kind of thing. Learn what we can from this and try to improve the system if you can, but pointing fingers will just lead to more people trying to cover their a**es.

9 ( +11 / -2 )

So, this loon and many more like him should have been receiving counselling and possibly been in an institution. He should not have been left alone to slowly go insane. This is an extremely common and repetitive scenario in Japan. If Abe is sincere in his pledge to protect children he needs to start with a more interventional mental health care system and start treating and/or institutionalising these kinds of people to get them out of society.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

I'm not going to blame his relatives or social workers b/c I imagine they've done all that the law allows them to do or they're at least following protocols that may not follow the letter of the law but are standard operating procedures. I don't know how Japan is supposed to handle a known risk but here are some things I turned up about such situations in North America. First, in the US:

Having said that patients have rights, it is important to realize that there are exceptions to the rule about being held in the hospital and given medications against one’s will. The exceptions are when patients are examined by psychiatric staff members and are deemed a danger to themselves or others.

So, what can you do if you are a family member and believe that your loved-one is threatening suicide or homicide? In this case it is permissible to call 911, and ask for help. If the police and ambulance staff agree that there is a threat, the patient will be taken to the psychiatric emergency room of the nearest hospital, where they will be further evaluated. In some cases, a patient can be held for 72 hours to further evaluate their mental status and their potential for committing a dangerous act. That 72 hour evaluation period is also used to determine whether the patient has a true psychotic or depressive illness or is reacting to drug abuse. Drug abusers are either referred for drug detox in the hospital or for drug rehab in the community.

And here's something from Canada:

Can I force my family member into treatment?

Everyone has the legally protected right to decide if they want treatment. Also, treatment is usually most effective when the person has agreed to it. However, in some situations, the Mental Health Act provides ways for people to receive an emergency assessment without their consent:

If a physician believes a person is a risk to themselves or others, they can write a Form 1. With a Form 1, the person may remain in hospital for up to 72 hours while they receive an emergency assessment. If the person is not found to be a risk to themselves or others, they can leave the hospital if they wish, even if it is against medical advice. If the psychiatric team finds that the person is a risk to themselves or others, they may be held in hospital under other Forms in the Mental Health Act until they are found to be safe to leave.

If a family member is concerned that a loved one is a risk to themselves or others, they can request a Form 2 from a justice of the peace. This form allows the police to take the person to a hospital for assessment. At the hospital, a physician will assess the person to see if they should be put on a Form 1.

The police may also take a person to hospital if they, or someone else, have seen the person behaving dangerously as a result of a mental health concern, or if they have a Form 1 or Form 2.

Obviously, this doesn't always work. Often there is no family to even attempt an intervention. But when risks are known and pleas for help are made, a professional assessment seems perfectly logical. Setting aside discussions of blame, perhaps a horrid incident could open up discussions like this.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Welfare did nothing because they were asked to not do anything by the Aunt and Uncle. They legally aren't allowed to do anything at this point. I think a lot of this misunderstanding comes from a terribly worded sentence...

But the center did not contact the 51-year-old man after a request from his aunt and uncle, with whom he lived, out of concern that it could "incite" him, they said.

This isn't, the aunt and uncle asked for help and the center said no. This is, the aunt and uncle asked for help and then asked the center not to contact him. As later explained here:

On Jan 10, the aunt called the center saying Iwasaki preferred not to be contacted by it, and she and her husband wanted to watch his condition for a while, which led the center to leave Iwasaki alone.

So many people clearly need to get their eyes checked...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

I really don't know the laws here on what the aunt and uncle could have done to get him out. Does anyone know?

Back where I am from, a family friend had their grandson, his gf and their child living with them. They invited them to stay with them until they got back on their feet which they promised would take months but that turned into years. The grandson and his gf never even attempted to find a job and stayed home all day wasting electricity and eating all of the food. All attempts to get them to leave always turned into big fights and breaking things. Finally they had no choice but to get lawyers involved to get them out of the house. Where I am from lawyers are more affordable than here and families aren't afraid to protect their own well-being even if it is against a relative or other family member.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is a very sad incident and tough to comment on unless you know the people involved personally. The article gives basic information but as always there is probably much more to it that we know.

Thankfully I don't have one, but I don't know how I would handle such a family member. It's easy for us armchair experts to make judgements on the people involved but if we ourselves were actually in the same situation would we have done any better?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Social work could be the world's hardest job.

Possibly the hardest thing about it is working out when is the right time to intervene. In many cases, it is going to involve outright confrontation, which is viewed in different ways in different cultures.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

This isn't just a Japanese problem.

Look at all the school shooters. Or even the owners of pit bulls that end up attacking and killing a child or elderly person.

"He was always so calm, I never imagined he would do this..."

People have soft spots for their own family, because we try to think the best of them. But in these cases, what would otherwise be an innocent delusion is actually dangerous. If your child is mentally ill, you need to deal with it. Don't point fingers, don't worry about face or your family's reputation. It can happen to the best of families and parents (though usually it's caused by poor parenting).

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@sourpuss - Even if they knew he was a recluse, how many recluses kill children in a rampage

How many is too many? There has been a lot of attacks against children committed by these loner recluses in recent years in Japan. Some have just been loony verbal abuses and others have been serious assaults. This is a repeating scenario whether you choose to believe it or not.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

There has been a lot of attacks against children committed by these loner recluses in recent years in Japan.

What do you consider to be "a lot"?

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Having had the chance to talk with both Japanese doctors and Japanese lawyers, one thing which I've heard from both sides is that society is helpless to help or confine the mentally ill unless they themselves ask for help directly.

Another point they've made to me is that these people who need the most help also tend to be those who are least likely to seek help.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Sourpuss - I hear you, but the issue isn't really about "blaming society for the actions of individuals" per se, it's that the state and media will ensure the opposite line is always prominent - that individuals like this are aberrant, irresponsible "mushokunin" - to absolve society of any blame and to discourage the need that aspects of it in need of questions. WA is to be maintained, and the population is willingly complicit.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Students, parents, teachers, social workers, everybody is so incredibly busy with work. Most people don't have time to speak or listen to each other.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

And now life will become a living hell for the relatives. This is how it is in Japan, if anyone commits such an atrocity the life for living relatives becomes unbearable as society in general will relentlessly blame them and never move on.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hate to say it but it would have been better if he jumped in front of a train.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes, with hindsight we can see the mental health and welfare center should have followed up, but there is nothing in the article to suggest they should have known he was capable of such violence. Attacking children with knives is pretty much unthinkable....until it happens. I don't see a simple solution here other than to take care of every life as best you can.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I notice the social manner of many Japanese to be on the decline.

Barging in front of others,

clearing one’s nose on the train, walking attached to the cell looking done etc

Harmless?

No!

Showing more and more disregard for others is a real problem that escalates into more severe actions.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Where I live in the suburbs of Nagoya there are about 20 single older guys living quite near the school I run. Some will say hello, some ignore all interaction. One guy walked around the area harmlessly then disappeared. I heard he had touched up staff in the local family mart then was taken away and died within a week. Did he have alzheimers / dementia. I don't know.. Another old guy I used to exchange greetings disappeared over the spring holidays. He is probably languishing in a hospital somewhere. My heart bleeds for the families who have lost someone. But Japan has a ticking time bomb of frustrated, lost older men.. Impossible to police that. Don't no where this is going sadly.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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