Sentenced to death, “200 memoirs” from the defendant in the case of “Kawasaki Nursing Home for the Elderly,” who fell to his death.
On May 15, it was reported that Hayato Imai, 30, a former facility employee accused of murdering three elderly residents who fell to their deaths at an assisted-living facility in Kawasaki City in 2002, had withdrawn his appeal to the Supreme Court. This means that his death sentence will now be final.
As for the reason for the withdrawal, TV Asahi stated, “I had been fighting for so long and was feeling emotionally exhausted. I am thinking of withdrawing the appeal because I feel that I am at my limit,” reported Imai. In the December 3, 2021 issue of “FRIDAY,” we interviewed Imai just before the conclusion of the appeal trial, and published his testimony and 200 pages of his memoirs. The following is a reproduction of the article as it appeared at the time (age, title, etc. remain as they were at the time).
I try not to think about the outcome of the trial.
A visiting room at the Tokyo Detention Center. In a visiting room at the Tokyo Detention Center, a man I met for the first time in five and a half years since I interviewed him directly after the incident, asked me, “Don’t you still want to die? He looked away for a few seconds as if he was thinking about it, and then answered in an indifferent manner, “I have never thought about death.
I have never thought about death. If I had done the crime, and if it were the worst case scenario, I would not have met with him like this.
Hayato Imai, 29, is a defendant in the case of the deaths in a series of falls at a Kawasaki City nursing home. He showed up for the visit with short hair and a dark blue sweatshirt. He wore black-rimmed glasses, which had been impressive at the time, and his skin was fair-skinned and looked plump.
“He has gained 20 kilograms,” he said. I guess I just don’t exercise enough.
The appeal trial is coming to a conclusion. He may be sentenced to death. Is he not in a hurry?
Even though I look like this, I am inwardly impatient. At the time, I was being bombarded with press coverage and police investigations, and I thought that if I admitted to the crime, it would make my family feel better, so I lied and confessed that I had killed three people.
The tragedy occurred at S-Amille Kawasaki Saiwai-cho, a nursing home in Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture. From November to December 2002, three residents fell to their deaths one after another. Imai was the only staff member on the night shift on all the days of the incidents.
Imai denied any involvement. The police also ruled that the death was an accident.
However, in May 2003, Imai was arrested for stealing a resident’s ring. Subsequently, the sloppy care at the home came to light, and the police began investigating again.
Then, on February 15, 2004, Imai was arrested on suspicion of murder. Imai was arrested on suspicion of murder, and during an interrogation he confessed to the crime. Despite this, when the trial began, Imai reversed his confession and pleaded not guilty.
However, on March 22, 2006, the Yokohama District Court sentenced Imai to death.
I will prove my innocence at the second trial. In fact, I didn’t do it.
In his interview with the author, Imai eloquently explained the reasons for his appeal, while also chatting with the author.
–How are you feeling?
I am quite normal. I haven’t developed corona.
–What is your daily support?
My family, my supporters, and my legal team (……). I have people who support me.
–What do you do to relax?
Reading sports articles in newspapers and magazines. I have always been a big Giants fan, especially Yuto Sakamoto, whom I have supported since before he joined the team. On days when the Giants win, I eat canned crab and eel and celebrate by myself. I also like to play golf, and I was very excited by Hideki Matsuyama’s eagle putt at the Masters and his second shot on the 18th hole on the final day.
–What do you think about the death penalty?
I think the death penalty needs to be abolished. It should be discussed more deeply.
The reason why the author has been meeting with Imai since October is because he has changed his plea of not guilty from the first trial, after having confessed to the crime.
I can’t say in a few words what the reasons are for his not guilty plea,” he said. I will write a memoir. It will be easier to understand.
The memoir was a voluminous document, covering some 200 sheets of letterhead. The contents consisted mainly of the results of a psychiatric evaluation by a university professor.
The author (Imai) underwent a psychiatric evaluation by a psychiatrist from late August to mid-November of 2005. The results indicated a definite diagnosis that the author has autistic spectrum disorder (ASD). The results also indicated that, although not definitive, an intellectual disability was suspected, and that there was a high possibility that the author’s intellectual capacity was low. (From the memoir, summarized in part)
In his memoir, he also wrote the following as a reminder to explain the developmental disability ASD.
Weak situational awareness and imagination; limited interest in relationships, empathy, and emotionality; threatening tendencies, such as regularity and obsession; and a tendency to gain stability through regularity.
Defendant Imai states.
So I confessed to a crime I didn’t commit because investigators told me I would protect my mother from the media.
It is true that Imai had some probable developmental disabilities. For example, he had blacked out all parts of his memoir so that the contents could not be read due to censorship at the detention center. Other considerations included the fact that the three elderly victims suffered from dementia, and that the possibility of accidental deaths or the existence of the real murderer could not be ruled out.
If I wanted to claim false accusations, I wanted to know the truth about the alibi, the new facts leading to the real culprit, and the truth about the death by fall, but I never did.
In mid-November, at the end of our meeting, I asked Imai again about his current state of mind.
I don’t feel any tension. （I try not to think about the verdict.
On the other hand, a reporter from a national newspaper’s society department said, “I don’t think about it as much as possible.
The confession by the defendant contains information that could only have been known to those involved in the case. It would be difficult to overturn the first trial based solely on the results of the psychiatric examination, which Imai’s side insists on.
The appeal trial is scheduled to conclude on November 26.
Interview and text by Mizuho Takagi
Nonfiction writer. She is the author of Methamphetamine Underground: The Man Who Knew Everything About Methamphetamine Distribution in Japan YouTube channel ” Mizuho Takagi Channel
From the December 3, 2021 issue of FRIDAY
Interview and text by： Mizuho Takagi (nonfiction writer) PHOTO： Shinji Hamasaki (Imai defendant), Takeo Yuzoku (memoir)