Parents Sue Facility Over Lost Wages After Mentally Disabled Teenager Dies

Parents sue facility over lost wages after mentally disabled teenager diesThe parents of a heavily mentally-disabled teenager have sued the corporation managing the facility from which the teenager escaped and died for around 88 million yen at the Tokyo District Court, including around 50 million yen in wages they estimate he could have earned had he been alive.

The group has indicated a willingness to pay damages, but put the estimate for the teenager's future wages at zero yen. The parents have expressed their anger at "continued discrimination against the mentally disabled even after death."

According to the lawsuit, the dead teenager was 15-year-old Kazuma Matsuzawa. In September 2015, he escaped through an unlocked door from the care facility in Hachioji, Tokyo, where he was enrolled. He went missing and turned up dead around two months later. While the corporation indicated it was willing to pay 20 million yen in compensation, it said it is difficult to recognize that future wages had been lost. Based on average wages, the parents calculated the lost wages at around 50 million yen and have sued for this amount along with other compensation payments including consolation money.

Lawyer Tateo Shimizu, who is representing the parents, says that in 2009 the Aomori District Court recognized around 6 million yen in lost wages for a seriously disabled person based on the minimum wage, and also in 2009 the Sapporo District Court recognized around 15 million yen in lost wages in a settlement involving a person who was heavily disabled. There are no examples of lost income for a heavily disabled person based on average wages being granted, but Shimizu mentions the start of a law against discrimination of the disabled last year and says, "I hope the courts will change their way of thinking."

Kazuma's father Masami, 60, said at the press conference, "I want to eliminate discrimination between living beings. I think my son could have done a fitting job if he had the chance."

Fujikura Gakuen, the corporation running the facility, has said it will consider its response after seeing the contents of the lawsuit.