YOKOHAMA: A Japanese man was sentenced to death on Monday (Mar 16) for killing 19 disabled people in a knife-wielding rampage in 2016.

Satoshi Uematsu, 30, admitted to stabbing to death or injuring the victims at a care centre for people with mental disabilities. He had once worked in the facility, located in Sagamihara, southwest of Tokyo.

The attack also left 26 people injured.

Police searching the home of murder suspect Satoshi Uematsu after his arrest in 2016. (AFP/JIJI PRESS)

READ: Japanese man faces verdict in murder of 19 at disabled care home

His lawyers previously entered a plea of not guilty, arguing the 30-year-old was suffering a “mental disorder” linked to his use of marijuana.

But prosecutors said Uematsu was capable of taking responsibility for the attack at the Tsukui Yamayuri-en centre in Sagamihara town outside Tokyo and should be executed for his crimes.

The rampage was “inhumane” and left “no room for leniency”, prosecutors argued last month.

Uematsu reportedly said he will not appeal whatever decision the court hands down. But he also defended himself, arguing his actions do not deserve the death penalty.

He turned himself in to police after the assault, carrying bloodied knives.

READ: Man pleads not guilty in Japan murder of 19 at care home

It later emerged he had left his job at the home just months earlier and had been forcibly hospitalised after telling colleagues he intended to kill disabled people at the centre.

Uematsu had been discharged after 12 days when a doctor decided he was not a threat. He had also written a letter outlining plans to attack the home, claiming “disabled people only create unhappiness”.

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