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Sagamihara stabbings: 16 non-monitored security cameras

Satoshi Uematsu at the Yokohama District Court
Satoshi Uematsu shown on his way to the Yokohama District Court on Wednesday

SAGAMIHARA, KANAGAWA (TR) – In the chilling massacre of 19 people at an assisted living facility here on Tuesday, 16 security cameras had been set up but they weren’t monitored and there was no system to report any irregular events in times of emergency, the Sankei Shimbun learned on Wednesday (July 27).

A 69-year-old security guard at Tsukui Yamayuri En facility was also taking a nap while suspect Satoshi Uematsu bound workers with zip ties and went on a stabbing spree, prompting the Sankei to say that the killings were made possible by such security lapses.

Kanagawa Prefectural Police provided guidance to the facility after Uematsu wrote a letter to the lower house speaker in February containing disturbing details such as his plan to “kill 470 disabled people.”

The facility responded by setting up security cameras in April that stored up to two weeks of footage, but the feeds weren’t being monitored live.

A fire alarm system was also in place, but there was a lack of a system that triggered facility-wide warnings in the event of intruders.

Kaoru Irikura, director of the facility, explained that the cameras were installed to “record any events that occurred, as opposed to monitoring the outer areas.”

“Judgement was wrong”

When Uematsu smashed a window and broke into the facility, there were eight workers on duty and a snoozing 69-year-old security guard who was only awoken by the sounds of the suspect trying to escape at around 2:50 a.m.

The guard told the Sankei that he himself was panicking because “I didn’t know what was going on.”

Uematsu could have been aware of the schedules and preparedness of staff at the facility as well as its security measures.

Miki Akagawa, managing director of social welfare corporation Kanagawa Kyodokai which operates the facility, said there was no sense of an “impeding crisis where the residents were going to be attacked.”

“That judgement was wrong,” Akagawa said.