Memorial Service Held for Victims of 2016 Sagamihara Massacre


Sagamihara, Kanagawa Pref., July 20 (Jiji Press)--A ceremony was held on Tuesday to pray for the 19 people killed in the 2016 knifing rampage at a care home for disabled people in the city of Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo.

Ahead of the ceremony, held by organizations including the Kanagawa prefectural government six days before the fifth anniversary of the incident, a new monument set up at the care home, Tsukui Yamayuri-en, was unveiled.

The monument is engraved with the names of seven of the victims, including Miho, 19, whose name was disclosed by her mother during the trial over the massacre. The other 18 victims were not named in the trial, which was closed last year with a death sentence for the accused, Satoshi Uematsu, 31, finalized.

The memorial ceremony, held at a gym at the care home, was attended by some 40 people, including bereaved families, people related to the care home and Kanagawa Governor Yuji Kuroiwa. Participants offered silent players to the victims. The annual ceremony, which had been held at a hall in the city, took place at the care home for the first time. Last year's ceremony was canceled due to the novel coronavirus epidemic.

"I still can't help feeling strong resentment and deep sorrow when I think about the victims and bereaved relatives' deep regret over losing their loved ones," Kuroiwa said. "The day's ghastly scenes and extreme chaos remain lodged in my brain," Kazuma Otsuki, who heads an association of families of Tsukui Yamayuri-en residents, said. "I can't erase my indignation at the cruel action."

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