Woman jailed for 4 years for murder, assisted suicide of parents

SAITAMA —

The Saitama District Court has sentenced a 47-year-old woman to four years in prison for killing her mother and assisting her father to commit suicide.

The court heard that Atsuko Namikata put her parents into a car and drove it into the Tone River last November, Fuji TV reported. Namikata said that her ill father had said that he wanted the family to die together and asked his daughter to help. Namikata is the third daughter of Yoshihide Fujita, 74, and his wife Yoki, 81. She had been living with her parents at their home in Fukaya, Saitama Prefecture, caring full-time for her mother who has been suffering from dementia since 2003.

Fujita had been supporting his family by delivering newspapers every day but he became ill and was unable to continue to earn any income.

Namikata told police she was exhausted from looking after her parents and that their financial situation had become severe. She said her father had given up hope and asked that they all die together.

Namikata drove the car partially into the river and then she took her mother by the hand and led her into deeper water and let her go. Her father also waded into deeper water and went under.

Both of Namikata’s parents drowned. Namikata, who was found lying on the riverbank, was taken to hospital, suffering from hypothermia. After she recovered, police charged her with killing her mother and assisting her father to commit suicide.

Namikata told the court that she had no hesitation about complying with her father’s wish and that she regrets that she was unable to die with her parents.

The trial, which was extensively covered by the media this week, has thrown the spotlight on how local governments can better help such families in need. 

Japan Today

  • -2

    Zaphod

    wow that is dark

  • 5

    Lloyd Weems

    What good can possibly come from putting this poor woman in jail for four years?

  • 6

    shallots

    Jesus Christ!!!!!!! What an ugly story. These people lived a life of horror. Now she goes to jail? What suffering upon suffering. A cruel society.

  • -10

    TheGodfather

    Namikata told the court that she had no hesitation about complying with her father’s wish and that SHE REGRETS THAT SHE WAS UNABLE TO DIE with her parents.

    So shouldn't she get the DEATH PENALTY then?? ;-)

  • 4

    thepersoniamnow

    @TheGodfather

    I doubt you'll find even one person that agrees with your logic or that what you said is even remotely funny

  • 1

    Alan

    What good can possibly come from putting this poor woman in jail for four years?

    It's called maintaining the rule of law. She committed premeditated murder. Police and judges can't decide arbitrarily that euthansia and assisted suicide are acceptable. That's something that elected lawmakers have to decide and put into laws after extensive public debate. Judges can only apply the law as it exists.

    The real question here is why this family was unable to get help when the parents were still alive.

  • 0

    randomnator

    The real question here is why this family was unable to get help when the parents were still alive.

    Best post in this thread. Surprised it wasn't suspended. I hope she can appeal but it sounds like she is broke.

  • 2

    Osaka_Doug

    Police and judges can't decide arbitrarily that euthansia and assisted suicide are acceptable.

    Agree judges must follow the law, but they do have the ability to adjust the punishment don't they? . This situation resulted from government not properly supporting the family so I feel the judge should recommend some changes to how the government handles this.

  • 4

    coskuri

    She committed premeditated murder.

    She's a depressive woman that missed her suicide. So far, in most similar cases, they'd give suspended jail term. She should appeal.

    The real question here is why this family was unable to get help when the parents were still alive.

    Because 'That's something that elected lawmakers have to decide and put into laws after extensive public debate.'. I don't know if you ever visited Japan. If you knew a little, you'd be aware that millions of families have the charge of an elderly parent that needs lots of care, and only a tiny minority receive even a limited amount of help from social services. There is no real political effort to address this. And if from now, the judges decided to jail all those that failed their familial murder-suicide, they lawmakers should plan the building of more prisons.

  • -1

    Lisa Daxer

    She and her father conspired to kill an innocent woman, their mother and wife. That is wrong. You should respect your parent or your wife, not kill them. He only escaped punishment by committing suicide. Four years is not long enough.

  • 2

    borscht

    Suspended Sentences are very common. She might have committed premeditated murder but we've seen parents get less than four years for murdering their children (child), often suspended for three years or so. Judges following the law is not a requirement, it appears.

  • -1

    badman

    There's not enough detail to ascertain, but if her father had been abusive or had emotional control over her daughter and mother that would certainly be a mitigating factor.

    Also, it was written in such a way which sounds like the mother did not object. Maybe she did, it just isn't clear.

    Overall Jair a very sad story. They slipped through the cracks.

  • -2

    Alan

    @coskuri

    If you knew a little, you'd be aware that millions of families have the charge of an elderly parent that needs lots of care,

    I do know a little, coskuri. I lived in Japan for many years, and I've seen this problem first-hand. In addition to a lack of care facilities for dementia sufferers, there is a social stigma about putting aging parents into care. In this particular case, I believe the woman was emotionally unable to cope with the bureaucratic process involved in seeking official help.

    I also know that this problem is not unique to Japan. Another thing I know is that euthanasia happens all the time, and that the authorities tend to make examples of those who get caught.

  • 0

    thetoleratedone

    No excuses or mitigating circumstances justify killing two people. Its only a question of whether the sentence will be death, life or a lesser term of incarceration.

  • 1

    sensei258

    Kill your parents and only get four years?! What's wrong with the Japanese justice system?

  • 0

    shallots

    @sensei258 There are lots of cases in Japan that get soft peddled: Usually white collar crime committed by people with friends in high places or who relate to the judges. Now here's a case that probably deserves some mitigation. This is just a horror story. I cannot begin to know the darkness surrounding these lives. I don't know. I mean, these forums are the very definition of quick, ill-considered, off-the-cuff judging. Still, I wouldn't be so quick to judge here. These people seem ill and beyond desperate to me.

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