Two Japanese doctors have been indicted on charges relating to the death of a 51-year-old woman in the Japanese city of Kyoto late last year.

The woman, a terminally ill patient with ALS is reported to have given her consent ahead of the doctors ending her life, and had transferred JPY1.3 million to the account of one of the doctors, Naoki Yamamoto, ahead of Yamamoto and fellow physician Yoshikazu Okubo administering a lethal dose of a sedative that led to the woman’s death.

ALS – in full, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, with the victim in this case having been diagnosed in 2011, and by the time of her death being unable to move.

The doctors are reported to have injected the sedative into a feeding tube being used by the woman to have it reach her stomach and take effect in the shortest time possible in the early evening of November 30th 2019.

Neither doctor was attending the victim, with Okubo having travelled from his practice in northern Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture, and Yamamoto normally resident in Tokyo.

The victim’s body was discovered by a resident caretaker who alerted local medical authorities before the victim was declared dead just under three hours later at a local hospital.

It is understood that Dr. Okubo had started communicating with the victim on Twitter almost a year ahead of the incident and had already discussed dates and related fees for his actions.

Euthanasia has long been a contested issue in Japan but in centuries past, in crude form was an accepted part of the culture in some more rural areas when family members became too old to be considered productive or women gave birth to baby girls.

Under the current legal system, however, anyone killing another even with consent will be punished with a prison sentence of between six months and seven years.

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