【February 2017 No.391】Comment on the Incident of Multiple Knife Attacks at the Care Facility for Disabled Persons in Sagamihara by Yoshizawa Shin, chair Kyodan Committee on Social Concerns
On July 26, 2016, a knife attack incident took place in Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Prefecture at a residential care facility for persons with disabilities operated by the prefecture. An intruder with a knife entered the facility and attacked sleeping residents, one after another. Within a day it was confirmed that the perpetrator, who killed 19 people and injured 26, was a former employee. Of all the murder cases that have happened in Japan since the end of World War II, this one involved the largest number of victims. Acquaintances say the attacker had been repeating misguided and prejudiced statements that were based on eugenic thinking, and the media reported that he continued to make such statements even after his arrest. The incident has spread waves of sadness and distress to many people. The chair of the Kyodanfs Committee on Social Concerns issued a statement on this incident, as translated below. (KNL Editorial Committee)
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Be fruitful and multiply… (Genesis 1:22)
All beings with life are born with God’s blessing, for it is within God’s blessing that all life is interconnected. Within the linkages between life and life, human beings can live. This is why we sing, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” A society that does not place life first will collapse. In a world where economy, not life, comes first, where life is disregarded, relationship is destroyed, human dignity is put at risk, and hatred and anger is spread to the world. Today the world is in the midst of such pain.
We have become completely accustomed to evaluating people according to scores, grades, and degrees of accomplishment. In this climate there is a danger that we will lose the ability to recognize life’s value. As human beings we are not in a position to decide who should be allowed to live and who should not.
The Bible teaches that every person is alive by the will of God, the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. If God chose to use God’s own abilities as the standard for judging us, none of us would be worthy of life before God. We are alive by God’s forgiveness and mercy. All people in this world are under God’s love, equally. People cannot be the judge of whether one lives or dies, including oneself.
God gives to each person a unique life. Within that unique life, everyone experiences times of joy, times of sadness, times of hardship. I believe God gives meaning to each of our lives.
In the very early hours of July 26, 2016, a multiple stabbing incident took place at Tsukui Yamayuri En, a welfare facility for persons with disabilities located in Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Prefecture. Within a day it was confirmed that 19 people had died, and a further 26 had suffered injuries of varying degrees.
The people who were attacked in this incident are victims of a society poisoned by an economy-first value system. It is a distressing incident that demands repentance from us, who have created such a society.
I pray from my heart for God’s deep comfort upon the people who suddenly lost a beloved family member and remain in deep sorrow and grief and also for God’s healing upon those who were injured.
One welfare caregiver who visited Tsukui Yamayuri En to lay flowers said, with teary eyes, “It’s regrettable that something so terrible happened at a facility with such a cheerful atmosphere. We interact with them not as ‘disabled,’ but as people.” This tragedy, which turned a cheerful facility into a picture of hell and produced many victims, has caused shock not just in Japan but also around the world.
Let us pray together for the families of victims, who are still in deep shock and pain, and for the staff and other persons associated with Tsukui Yamayuri En.
I hope that all people may come to know correctly the God of Jesus Christ so that through this, they may know that every person is in God’s love, learn to love and pray for one another, and aim toward an inclusive society in which all people encourage each other as we walk together. (Tr. DM)
—Yoshizawa Shin, chair
Kyodan Committee on Social Concerns
August 9, 2016
日本基督教団社会委員会委員長 芳澤 信
「息あるものはこぞって主を賛美せよ。」（旧約聖書 詩編150篇６節）「産めよ、増えよ」 （旧約聖書 創世記1章22節）
すべて命あるものは神の祝福の 中に生まれます。神の祝福の中 で「命はつながりにおいて生きる」ことができます。命と命の つながりの中で人間は生きることができます。それ故「
私たちは普段、点数や成績や能力、その成果の大小などによっ て人 を評価することに慣れ切っています。そのような中でいつの間 にか人の命の価値が見えなくなる危険性があります。
神は一人ひとりに固有な命を与えておられます。誰もがその固 有な 命の中で、時には喜び、時には悲しみ、時には苦しむのです。 その一つひとつの命に、神は意味を与えておられると信じます。
2016年7月26日未明、神奈川県相模原市緑区 千木良にある障がい者福祉施設「津久井やまゆり 園」で、刃物による殺傷事件が発生いたしました。同日中に19人
願わくは、全ての人々が主イエス・キリストの神を正しく知る こと によって、神の愛の中に一人ひとりが置かれていることを知 り、互いに愛し合い、祈り合い、