21 August, 2012


To lose one centenarian may be regarded as a misfortune, but to lose 230,000 seems like sheer carelessness! Yet, that’s exactly what happened in Japan as officials today revealed that they were unable to locate hundreds of thousands of citizens supposedly aged 100 or over. 234,354 centenarians couldn’t be found at their listed addresses.

In late July, 2010 for instance, the mummified remains of Tokyo’s oldest man, 111-year old Sogen Kato, were discovered at his family home, where he must have laid for the past 30 years.

Soon after, it was revealed that Japan’s oldest woman, 113-year old Fusa Furuya, had in fact vanished decades earlier. And in late August, police found the bones of a 104-year old woman stuffed in a backpack at her son’s apartment. 

Not until recently did an official discover that it was slightly odd that some 77,000 Japanese were listed on the database as having celebrated their 120th birthday, or that 884 of those had hit the grand old age of 150.

It is suspected that many families decided to keep quiet about elderly relatives’ deaths in order to continue claiming state benefits.

Remarkably, this mass gray-haired vanishing act hasn’t caused Japan to lose its title as home of the planet’s longest-living people.

According to the UN, the average life expectancy in Japan is 82.6 years, compared with 78.2 in the US. 

Government officials reassured Japan that the country’s longevity record – a source of considerable national pride – was safe, as the figure is based on a house-to-house census carried out by field workers every five years.
Source: World Weird News 2010-09 via Neil and David Verwey 

1 comment:

Deb said...

In a backpack! Oh! How terrible!