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22 workers routinely tied up residents at Japanese nursing home

The Okayama Prefectural Government headquarters (Mainichi/Ryohei Masukawa)

OKAYAMA -- About half of the staff at a special nursing home for the elderly operated by a social welfare corporation in the town of Shoo, Okayama Prefecture in western Japan, routinely tied up residents, according to the prefectural government.

    The prefectural government recognized their actions as abuse and announced on Nov. 17 that it issued administrative punishment against the corporation Shomei Fukushikai, banning it from accepting new residents for one year from January 2021. It also instructed the local government to reduce the nursing care remuneration for the corporation by 10% for at least three months from December 2020.

    According to the prefectural government and other authorities, 22 workers at the special nursing home "Nankoso" tied ropes around the stomachs of 13 residents aged between their 60s and 90s for at least one year until March 2020. The workers explained that they did this "to prevent the residents from removing their diapers." Some of the staff involved have already resigned from their jobs over their actions.

    The incidents came to light in March after an anonymous person reported the matter to the town government. The prefectural government conducted interviews with board members and staff of the corporation between June and October. Yoshiyuki Watanabe, the president of the corporation, commented, "The punishment is very harsh. By putting ourselves in the shoes of residents, we want to create an open work environment as soon as possible so that such a situation will not occur again."

    (Japanese original by Ryohei Masukawa, Okayama Bureau)

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