Elderly Woman Drowns in Care Home, Recorded as Natural Death

The company logo of Watami Care Homes.

The company logo of Watami Care Homes.

The Watami Group is headed by Christian philanthropist Miki Watanabe, who has used some of the profits from his successful restaurant chain to found a number of charities, including food programs for the elderly and free nursing-homes. As Japan becomes the fastest aging industrial nation in the world, how to take care of the needs of the elderly and, more importantly, how to afford a decent standard of care for an aging population which is starting to outweigh the young, has become a urgent concern.

When neither state welfare nor families themselves can afford the rising costs of elder-care, the Watami Group does offers important services to the community. A recent story revealing the death of a female patient due to neglect left netizens shocked, however, to find out that the standards of private care for the elderly might actually be dangerously low.

From Livedoor:

A woman died of drowning in a care home managed by the Watami Group , the institution said she “died of natural causes”

A female nursing-care resident in Itabashi, Tokyo, died whilst being bathed by a member of staff – It has recently been revealed that a female patient (74 at the time) who’s motor skills had been impaired by Parkinson’s disease died of drowning after being left alone in the bath for over an hour and a half by an attendant last February, in “Rest Villa Akasaka”, a fee-paying elder-care home in Itabashi, Tokyo, operated by Watami Nursing Care Home, part of the Watami Group which manages a chain of izakayas (Ota ward, Tokyo).

According to the woman’s eldest daughter (47), she had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2009 and was entrusted to the institution in December 2010. Since the end of last January, she repeatedly fell while in the institution’s care.

This accident happened on the February 16 2012. The woman was put in the bath at about 14:15, and she was found with her heart stopped at around 15:40. The care-home’s service guide, based on the Nursing Insurance Law , contained rules like “if it is necessary considering the condition of the patient, careers will wash their body and shampoo their hair”, but despite this the staff member did not check on the woman’s condition once during her bath.

An example of bathing facilities at a care home operated by Watami.

An example of bathing facilities at a care home operated by Watami.

After the incident, the care-home told the bereaved family things like “Her heart stopped during the 10 minutes she was left out of sight. She very probably died of natural causes.” When the Takashimadaira Police Department looked at the care home’s security camera though, they found out that these statements were untrue. They determined that the cause of death was drowning. Following this, the institution gave explanations like “there were other people taking baths and there were not enough staff”.

The woman’s eldest daughter cried, saying “I can’t bear the regret of having put my mother in an uncaring institution”.

The Takashimadaira Police Department said that the nursing home was not at fault, but they would investigate the conditions and the staff system at the time. The Watami PR representative said that “Watami will fully cooperate with the police investigation and we want to moderate [negative] comments”. [Wada Hiroyuki]

Comments from Livedoor:


That’s the ultimate blackness


Murdering idiots


This is a black nursing-home




It’s to the point where telling the truth would have been even worse


I go to the Hello Work every day to look for a job. Watami is the only one I’d want to dodge.w


Definitely THE black Watami


Asking for nursing care with low staff costs is the same as asking to murder people. If you want to get rid of an burdensome person, this is perfect.


This type of accident was bound to happen if they were working their staff full throttle in the same way they manage their izakayas.


INSANE, Watami


I think they’re definitely guilty!


How many will they murder before they’re satisfied?


She was “left to chance” rather than “left alone” w Where the hell do elderly women spend over an hour and a half in the bath! w


A nursing-care home by Watami probably would not be a decent place….


Watami is not only killing its employees but also its customers…


If you go to an izakaya, they put so much responsibility on their employees that it pushes them to suicide. It’s dangerous to trust them with nursing care. It’s a horrible company!


SCARY! I suppose they usually left them like that on their own for over an hour and a half. This is not what you pay more than 200,000 yen a month for!


This is the modern day version of abandoning an old lady in a mountain [“ubasute“]. It’s because there is a demand for it now.


I hate it how it seems like there’ll be a crop of people put in care homes because of this news…

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