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Woman found guilty of assisted suicide of mother after refusing to accept welfare


A woman has been found guilty by Sapporo District Court after pleading guilty to the assisted suicide of her 70-year-old mother. According to the prosecution, Kumiko Osawa had agreed to kill her mother after the two nearly ran out of money. In addition, about one year prior to this, they had refused to accept government assistance as a matter of pride.

The prosecution’s opening statement explained that Osawa and her mother had been receiving welfare since 2006. However, in April of 2011 she turned down the financial support.

When asked why she did this during the trial, the 42-year-old replied “I went to Hello Work [Japan’s national employment service] but couldn’t find anything. Just receiving handouts began to feel like torture.”

Afterwards, Osawa and her mother continued to live off of their savings of 1,000,000 yen, but by May of 2012, that money had begun to run dry. At this point the ailing mother had decided to commit suicide and suggested to her daughter, “Let’s end it.”

Having received the confession of Osawa, the remainder of the trial was to decide her punishment. Prosecutors requested a three-year prison sentence on the grounds that the woman had been able to reapply for government assistance at any time.

However, the defense was able to get Osawa a suspended sentence after asking the court for leniency in her case.

Source: Sankei News

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Would not want to be a "Lay-Judge" on this one.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

However, the defense was able to get Osawa a suspended sentence after asking the court for leniency in her case.

Well there is justice after all. If they could prove that this is what the mother wanted.

Anyway this is a slap in the face of Japanese society - this person wanted to find work and couldn't. Their pride was probably the last thing they had left... I'm glad this was respected in the end by the justice.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Prosecutors requested a three-year prison sentence

It seems that even the prosecutors felt bad about this, given that they could have asked for much much more.

2 ( +4 / -2 )


Very sad story: One of the women had cataracts and brain tumors (I believe it is the younger). Fasting suicide did not work for two weeks and they borrowed 30,000Y to buy charcoal which led to one of their(s) deaths.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mother had the health issues.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

suspended sentence

This is everything wrong with Japan, someone kills someone else and gets off

-15 ( +1 / -16 )

I'd like to see what evidence they had that the mom actually asked to be killed.

And if she did say, "let's end this" what happened to the daughter holding up her end of the bargain?

-7 ( +2 / -9 )

Well, I'd say she's on welfare now--prison welfare.

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Well, I'd say she's on welfare now--prison welfare.

Did you even read the article? Cripes...... LAST line!

However, the defense was able to get Osawa a suspended sentence after asking the court for leniency in her case.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

"Just receiving handouts began to feel like torture."

I can understand that, when you receive government assistance here it seems they want to control everything, you are not allowed to have any savings, that is why I can not understand how they had 1,000,000 yen.

If you are lucky and get a decent social worker it makes it a little easier, but still takes it toll. Most are like the Robots at the city office, and show no emotion what so ever. There is no case by case basis, it is always by the book, no matter how out dated the book may be.

Trying to get off Government assistance is a job all in its self. I know, I had to go on it for a while after I was hurt at work and received no workers compensation, it is a humiliating thing to have to do. But when you have kids you have to do what you have to do.

When life gets to the point of 0% enjoyment and you are old and sick, then I think it is your choice to exit stage left if that is what you so desire.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Well of course it would feel like torture... In Japan, you are constantly bashed and hounded by all sorts of crazy people just for receiving welfare handouts.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Yeah, I guess I did glaze over the last line. Cripes!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As to receiving handouts, if you pay tax at some point in your life, I think there should be no dishonor in getting help.

It's a personal thing called pride, don't receive something for nothing. But in her case I don't see how that worked seeing as how her mother was receiving benefits since 2006.

That is an awfully long time, and there is probably a heck of a lot more to this story than what is being reported here. We have no way of knowing what Mom said or went through, and other than what's reported here, that it was as assisted suicide, which others might consider to be murder.

Either way it's a sad situation for everyone involved and I hope she can get on with her life too, because from what it sounds like, at her age, and after taking care of her sick Mom for all these years, it's going to be awfully hard for her to find work.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I remember when going on relief brought a great sense of shame and embarrassment in America, but that was long ago.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

As to receiving handouts, if you pay tax at some point in your life, I think there should be no dishonor in getting help.

I think the humiliation goes beyond simply accepting financial help from a system you've been paying into. To receive "living assistance" you need to pass regular inspections of your living conditions, and aren't allowed luxuries such as airconditioners, etc. These checks may have been the humiliations that could no longer be tolerated. Sad story all around.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

There is no excuses to kill anyone, this just puts a message out there that if you are in money troubles then talk your mother into dying and kill them and get away with it!

Self defense aside giving a sob story after the fact should NOT be taken into consideration.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )


I disagree with you. If I had brain tumors or something that just made my life painfully misarable, I'd want you to end it.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I see no shame in someone claiming benefits if they are actively seeking work like this woman. This is a civilized country, isn't it?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I agree with gogogo on this one. I wasn't surprised to find a bunch of assisted suicide supporters on here. Life doesn't seem all that valuable when you throw it away when things get tough. She was only 70 years-old! Lots of people live way longer than that in Japan. I agree, too, that they should have established beyond a shadow of a doubt that the mother wasn't coerced into this. Pride or no pride, life is life and should be respected as such.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I blame conservatism that demonizes welfare and social assistance, as much as Ms. Osawa who actually did it. There's no such thing as self-reliance and pulling one's up by the bootstraps. All of the successful people in the world stepped up other people's ladders. And the goddess of anti-welfare ayn rand herself took social security and medicaid. The same conservative mindset then demands that Japanese court hand down the death penalty for the crime. Death, death, death. I choose a better, cooperative, non-judgmental world.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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