Woman pleads guilty to murder, assisted suicide of parents

SAITAMA —

A 47-year-old woman arrested on suspicion of killing her mother and assisting her father to commit suicide pleaded guilty on the opening day of her trial at the Saitama District Court on Monday.

Prosecutors said 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.

Japan Today

  • -21

    TheGodfather

    her father had given up hope and asked that they all die together

    But you didn't all die together, did you Atsuko Namikata?

  • 17

    randomnator

    But you didn't all die together, did you Atsuko Namikata?

    Do you want her to die? It was her father's wish. This is more of an indictment of the social security services in modern Japan. The daughter who was looking after two ill parents whose financial situation had become dire was basically working unpaid and had put her life on pause since she was 34. So, I imagine after 13 years of being the care provider 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week , I can understand how she may not have been in the most rational state of mind. Questions I'd like answered in this article is how often the Fukaya City social welfare division had visited the home and offered solutions to the daughter. More and more cases of this will be happening as family sizes diminish and the number of unmarried daughters by percentage increases.

  • -16

    gogogo

    Namikata told police she was exhausted from looking after her parents and that their financial situation had become severe

    Another suspended sentence in the making...

  • 16

    Lloyd Weems

    Another suspended sentence in the making...

    One would hope so. A desperately sad story and the tip of the iceberg, unforunately.

  • 3

    sumobody

    gogogoJUN. 21, 2016 - 08:18AM JST

    Another suspended sentence in the making...

    What do you propose we give her? The chair?

  • 6

    BurakuminDes

    Terribly sad. The saddest part is the fact the father wanted his own relatively young daughter to die along with himself and his wife. I suspect he was a rather controlling individual. I am glad she survived, and hope she does not go to prison.

  • -7

    nakanoguy01

    This is more of an indictment of the social security services in modern Japan.

    why is it always the government's fault? should the gov't provide elderly care for the entire population of senior citizens? about 30 percent of senior citizens will develop some form of dementia. i think it's impossible for the gov't to care for every one.

    i think this is more an indictment on the other family members. where were the other two daughters in this family? they are the ones who should be named and shamed, not the gov't.

  • -5

    sumobody

    StrangerlandJUN. 21, 2016 - 10:01AM JST about 30 percent of senior citizens will develop some form of dementia. i think it's impossible for the gov't to care for every one. Really? You think of something affects 1/3 of a segment of the population, the government shouldn't do anything about it? Personally, I feel the exact opposite.

    Why is the government responsible for you? It's you and your family who should be in charge of your well being not the government. Grow up and be responsibility for your self.

  • 11

    randomnator

    Why is the government responsible for you? It's you and your family who should be in charge of your well being not the government. Grow up and be responsibility for your self.

    Fine, reduce taxes and pensions then. The big con is that you pay the government now with the promise that you will be taken care of in your old age. The government made itself responsible for you when they forced you to pay into a health care and pension scheme. People get sick and they do and will need support. Why do we pay for teachers to babysit our kids teaching them to be what ever while we parents work but the same government doesn't pay for elderly care to free up their kids to keep working and paying taxes. Meanwhile the government happily spends billions on a sports event in Tokyo including lining the pockets of officials from overseas. How can they build another bridge to nowhere or a maglev line to service a falling population but not pay young people a full time salary to care for the aged? It's more about priorities not whether or not governments are responsible for paying back tax payers. That is a given in a society such as Japan's.

  • -2

    John-San

    Sumobody:Sounds like a Trump Quote: 1/3 of a Senior demograpth which is a big proportion of the Japanese national poplutalion. Dementia does not discriminate. It is effects all social, cultural and economic sectors of society. The wealthy can afford in-home nursing ( notice lately the adverts on TV ) which indicate a demand in these services. These services are expensive. There fore a Luxury item to most of on this forum. To me this show to me the true demographic of Japan. Luxury Products do not need nation TV exposure to increase margins. So it a product being taken up by a big market. This Prove to my that is a Japan wealthy society and can afford to double the minimum wage. This has a flow on effect. more tax will flow into the health system adding better social/heath service and provide people like Namikata with outside help. Also More money getting spent in the local economy.

  • 0

    sumobody

    StrangerlandJUN. 21, 2016 - 12:14PM JST A healthy society takes care of its citizens, and takes care of each other Nonsense.I am not responsible for you and you are not responsible for me. If you want me to take care of you then you should listen to me. Stop drinking, stop smoking, stop eating fatty food, stop doing anything that can endanger your health or life. You wouldn't like that, now would you?

    You are going into extremes. We do need some form of government but if you rely on it for your well being you in for a rude awakening. Public anything sucks in most countries, whether it is education, health care or pension.

    So, get private education for your kids, get private health care for yourself and pay into a private pension system.

    Take care of yourself, don't expect the government or others to take care of you.

  • 5

    Maria M

    Dementia is not something you can avoid by going to the gym or eating healthy food. In this case it sounds like the daughter had the misfortune of being the youngest and unmarried one, so she had the full weight of having to take care of her parents. I agree in that the other daughters should've shared the responsibility, but as someone who had to take care of an ailing grandparent and never saw the rest of the family except for a random visit every few months, nobody ever wants to step up because it IS a full-time unpaid job. And it IS hard, and stressful, and guilt-ridden and easy to ignore while you feel yourself lucky it didn't fall on your shoulders.

    Most often than not whatever government-paid facilities are open for these kind of ill elderly people have a wait list of years, and there is the cultural preconception that having a facility take care of your parents is "leaving them to die" or "abandoning them," when in reality it's giving both the ill and the caretaker new, better lives.

  • 1

    Disillusioned

    I'm not sure which is sadder. The fact she killed her mother and assisted in the suicide of her father or, the fact that they had all been full time caters for the mother for over a decade.

  • -2

    Peter Qinghai

    These incidents are becoming ever more commonplace. I mentioned this would happen a while back.

    Soon, a tidal wave of these will break over the world.

  • 1

    MsDelicious

    She did not kill her mother. She gave her a better view of the life after.

    She did not kill her father. He decided to see the next stage in life following his beloved.

    The system makes you go totally bankrupt before they help out financially, unless you are psychotic and have a good doctor to show you are.

  • 4

    FightingViking

    Atsuko Namikata

    Namikata is the third daughter of Yoshihide Fujita, 74, and his wife Yoki, 81.

    Maybe I'm missing something here ? Other posters say Atsuko wasn't married - why does she have a different surname from that of her parents ? In any case, it doesn't explain why she was the only one to take care of her parents, one wonders why the other two sisters couldn't "relieve" her from her duties from time to time... There are FAR too many stories of children having to take care of their ageing parents because the government doesn't do enough in the way of health care for anyone, young or old...

  • 0

    randomnator

    Other posters say Atsuko wasn't married - why does she have a different surname from that of her parents

    not sure who said she wasn't married, I wrote that the percentage of unmarried women is increasing, which it is. It is often the unmarried daughter that gets to look after the parents especially if the other siblings have moved away, many married daughters do move when their husbands transfer.

  • 0

    coskuri

    not sure who said she wasn't married,

    The woman herself.

    Maybe I'm missing something here ? Other posters say Atsuko wasn't married - why does she have a different surname from that of her parents ?

    She probably has the mother's maiden name. Google her name. They come from a social class, clearly not privileged. According to the landlord of the miserable place they lived in, the single mother raised her 3 girls alone. The father moved in later with the mother and Atsuko (when the sisters had left). The guy seemed to have been away most of the time and not contributing to the family and only taking responsibility when the mother got sick. Not that changes the case much. The context gives hints why the 2 elder daughters took their distances.

  • 2

    Nippori Nick

    Another suspended sentence in the making...

    And I agree it should be suspended.

  • 3

    misunderstood

    WOW, many posters can say what they want, the daughter honored (PROBABLY) her parents wishes. They were old and asked to die together and yes she tried but for some reason or another she die with them as planned now for the rest of her life perhaps in jail the memories will haunt her. This is sad because she still have some good years of life in her, no one knows how hard it is to take care of a family member until they actually have to do it alone, especially caring for two parents. I am sure she was exhausted, too bad she didn't have a support system.

  • 1

    mtuffizi

    what a burden on this woman to take care both for such a long time. hope her life will be better in the future and do not get severe punishment.

  • 0

    chisineko

    Did Atsuko Namikata ever ask for health care assistance?

  • 0

    Myhumbletake

    It's never a solution. May the parents rest in power.

  • -1

    Aly Rustom

    This is more of an indictment of the social security services in modern Japan. The daughter who was looking after two ill parents whose financial situation had become dire was basically working unpaid and had put her life on pause since she was 34. So, I imagine after 13 years of being the care provider 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week , I can understand how she may not have been in the most rational state of mind. Questions I'd like answered in this article is how often the Fukaya City social welfare division had visited the home and offered solutions to the daughter. More and more cases of this will be happening as family sizes diminish and the number of unmarried daughters by percentage increases.

    Randomnor you hit the nail on the head- again.

  • 0

    drlucifer

    It was mentioned in the T.V. news last night that She visited the city office to report the dire situation of the family and request financial help but the city office insisted she provided statements of the household bank accounts and other documents. She lost all hope hearing those demands and just gave up. From all implications the welfare dept never did their job and were probably not aware of the situation of this unlucky family.

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