Recently a man known to authorities in Japan entered a residence for people with disabilities where he had worked before, and slit the throats of 19 disabled residents, killing them.
This crime was not something that happened without warning; the suspect had written a letter to a politician, saying, “I can obliterate 470 disabled people,” which would be “for the sake of Japan and the world,” and would “prevent World War III.” In addition to this letter, the suspect told co-workers at the residence that he thought severely disabled people should be killed.
Now the police and advocates for people with disabilities in Japan are wondering why someone known to authorities was able to murder 19 people with disabilities. Advocates for the disabled wonder if Japan did enough to prevent such an attack. They point to a long tradition of shame and stigma surrounding disability in Japan and argue that attitudes toward disability made it possible for someone like this man to commit murder even though all the signs were there that he was up to something terrible.