Two Years After Osaka Arson Case: “I Can Look Forward Because I Have My Children” Bereaved Family Reveals Why They Will Not Tell Their Children the Cause of Their Husband’s Death | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Two Years After Osaka Arson Case: “I Can Look Forward Because I Have My Children” Bereaved Family Reveals Why They Will Not Tell Their Children the Cause of Their Husband’s Death

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Two years have passed since the arson and murder of a building in Kitashinchi, Osaka, in which 26 people were killed. Many bouquets of flowers were laid at the scene.

The loneliness will never fade.

My children were small when the incident took place, so I don’t remember much about it,” he said. When images are shown on TV, they seem to understand that it was their father’s case, but I have told my children that my husband died, but I have not told them that he was killed because of the arson case.

He goes to the cemetery and puts his hands on the altar, and I think he understands in his own way that his father died, but ……. I can’t say that I’m glad that he was small, but it’s like the beginning of my life without him, so I don’t cry because I miss him. I guess I take it for granted that my life without my father is normal.

Ms. A, a bereaved family member of a victim who lost her husband in the Kitashinchi arson incident that took place on December 17, 2007, said. Ms. A has a young child with her husband who died in the arson case, and she is now moving forward with her child while accepting the fact that her husband is no longer with her. However, she dares not to tell her child everything.

She says, “I try not to let the incident affect my children’s personalities, so I try to keep that in mind. My children know about the incident. But I don’t want to use the word ‘murdered. The impact of that word is too strong, and I myself have a strong image of ‘disaster. There was no connection between the perpetrator and the deceased.

I will talk to my children about the incident when they are old enough to understand it. My biggest worry is that they will talk about the incident and my children in a curious way or look at them with curious eyes when they grow up. My current feeling is that I am afraid of that situation. So I take them everywhere I can go and give them a variety of experiences. I want them to become emotionally rich people. I am now raising my children with such a sense of mission.

There are so many things in my life that I have to face the reality of my husband’s absence. Toothbrushes, razors …… are everywhere in our lives. Each time I do this, the loneliness doesn’t diminish, but I do what I can now while accepting the fact that he is no longer in my life. That’s how I feel.”

Ms. A also says that her children are a big part of the reason she is able to look forward and walk forward while accepting the reality of her husband’s absence.

In a way, I think having my children has helped me to calm down. I don’t have time to be overwhelmed with grief over my husband’s death. I have to work, I have to do housework, and at times I have to play the role of a father who scolds his children, and at other times I have to play the role of a mother who listens to them when they come home crying.

I have to do both, which keeps me really busy. By staying busy, I can step away from the painful incident, even if only for a moment. My children are the reason I’m able to do that.”

Mr. A responding to an interview

Severe Situation of Crime Victims

Ms. A says that her thinking about the future has changed dramatically over time as a result of her experience with the incident.

After the incident, I was full of anxiety about how I would raise my children, and I thought that it might be easier to die following in my footsteps, but now I don’t know when I will be gone. It could be tomorrow, it could be 30 years from now. So I always think that I have to be prepared for my child to be able to live on his own even if I am gone.

The reason why Ms. A wants her child to be able to live on his own even if she dies tomorrow is because of the harsh environment in which bereaved families and crime victims are faced with.

I only found out about it when I became a bereaved family myself. I was the one who was killed, but I had to pay the fees for issuing the autopsy report and for transporting the body. There was also a bill from the hospital that performed the autopsy, and I involuntarily said to the police, ‘Why do I have to pay?

At the time, I said, ‘Why?’ But when I calmed down and thought about it, I realized that it was very strange that I was being forced to pay for the damage I had caused.

In Japan, the government has established a system of benefits for victims of crimes, but the system is still in its infancy. The amount of the benefit ranges from 3.2 million to 29.6 million yen, with an average of 6.65 million yen in FY 2009. If the victim was unemployed or a student, the calculation would be much stricter, and in some cases the benefit would be reduced to the minimum amount of 3.2 million yen.

The calculation is much stricter if you are unemployed or a student, and can be as low as 3.2 million yen. Isn’t that strange? I don’t agree that the government is taking the view that just because you happen to be unemployed, you are not productive.

The activities of Mr. A and other victims of crime were widely covered, and society became aware of the low level of benefits for victims of crime, and in June of this year, the government announced a policy to raise the amount of benefits paid. Although the government’s decision to raise the amount of the benefit this June has given Ms. A a glimmer of hope for her life and her child’s future, she says she has no intention of stopping her “fight.

I continue to respond to media interviews for the sake of my husband’s honor,” she said. I don’t know how many years or how many decades it will be, but I think it is the best thing I can do for my late husband that many people become aware of the harsh environment we are in through the media so that the environment surrounding crime victims will improve, and the system and society will improve.

The signboard of the hospital where the fire occurred still remains
  • Interview, text, and photography Miho Nakanishi

    Nonfiction writer and representative of NPO Third Place. Formerly a reporter for a weekly magazine. After receiving twins through fertility treatment, she found out that her second son had a disability. Drawing on her own experiences, she focuses her reporting on assisted reproductive technologies, pregnancy, childbirth, childcare, disabilities, and welfare. Twitter (@thirdplace_npo)

  • Photo Kyodo News (1st photo), Miho Nakanishi (2nd and 3rd photos)

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