THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
August 14, 2020 at 14:45 JST
The Kyoto District Public Prosecutors Office on Aug. 13 indicted two doctors on charges of murdering an amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient who is believed to have contacted them through social media.
Yoshikazu Okubo, 42, who resides in Sendai’s Izumi Ward, and Naoki Yamamoto, 43, who lives in Tokyo’s Minato Ward, were arrested for allegedly killing the patient by administering a drug at her request.
Investigative sources said the woman, 51, who suffered from the incurable disease, had posted online that she wanted to die.
According to an investigation by Kyoto prefectural police, the two doctors, who were not her attending physicians, are suspected of entering her home using false names and leaving there about 10 minutes later.
The prosecutors apparently decided that the doctors’ actions did not constitute euthanasia since they failed to meet four conditions under which a doctor would not be held liable for murder laid out by a 1995 Yokohama District Court ruling.
The conditions include the patient’s death was unavoidable and imminent and all efforts had been made to alleviate the patient’s extreme suffering.
According to the indictment, the two doctors visited the ALS patient’s apartment in Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward between around 5:21 p.m. and 5:37 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2019.
They allegedly injected a drug through a gastrostomy tube used to send nutrients to her stomach that is believed to have killed her at around 8:10 p.m. that day.
The prosecutors have not disclosed whether the doctors are admitting to the charges.
The Asahi Shimbun aims “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” through its Gender Equality Declaration.
Let’s explore the Japanese capital from the viewpoint of wheelchair users and people with disabilities with Barry Joshua Grisdale.
This special page portrays the dramatic arrest of Carlos Ghosn and the twists and turns that followed.
This special page reviews what the former Nissan Motor Co. chairman left during his 19 years in Japan.
Baseball star Ichiro Suzuki had much to say on March 21, 2019, the day he hung up his spikes.
This special page details how journalists uncovered shady transactions through Bermuda and other tax havens.