August 20, 2010

Careless, conspiracy or con?

When Japanese officials recently visited a 111 year old man to celebrate his birthday as being the ‘oldest man’ in Tokyo, they shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that he lacked enough puff to blow out the candles. However, he’d actually given up breathing 30 years ago and was mummified.

The family claimed he had “confined himself in his room more than 30 years ago and became a living Buddha” but had continued to claim widower’s pension payments, since his wife died six years ago, receiving 9.5 million yen ($109,000 or £70,000).

The case resulted in investigators looking into checking records where people are registered as being over 100 years old. Of approximately 40,000 registered centenarians in Japan, a reported 281 cases of those who are missing or have died are being investigated.

One case allegedly involves a 125 year old woman, who is unaccounted for, and was registered as living at an address that was turned into a park 29 years ago.

In a more gruesome finding, a woman’s body, who died in 2001, has been found in a backpack. Her 64 year old son claims he couldn’t afford her funeral so didn’t report the death.

It appears that the cases of missing centenarians has caused dismay in Japan with serious concerns that the welfare system is being exploited by dishonest relatives.

Last updated: August 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm