The powers that be in Japan have been left in humiliating circumstances since news of thousands of centenarians who were once the pride of the nation are actually dead while being documented by the establishment as alive.
Over two hundred and thirty thousand Japanese citizens who were recorded as being one hundred years or more in age cannot be found and might have passed away many years ago, based on a government survey recently revealed to the public.
The ministry of justice has said the study discovered well over seventy seven thousand individuals were registered as currently living in local documents and their ages would be at least one hundred twenty years old. Eight hundred eighty four people it turns out would be celebrating their one hundred fiftieth birthdays or even older.
What is clear is that the Japanese have an issue with their outdated methods of documenting people and fears have surfaced that certain families are intentionally concealing the deaths of their elderly family members to continue receiving their pension benefits.
Over seventy seven thousand individuals who are one hundred twenty years old or more and eight hundred eighty four listed as one hundred fifty years old or more are recorded on government documentation as still being alive.
The study review had begun in August following the police discovery of a mummified corpse identified as Sogen Kato, at the family’s residence thirty two years past his death. Kato was recorded as Tokyo’s most elderly man at one hundred eleven years old.
Police arrested Kato’s granddaughter, on grounds she abandoned his body and was collecting millions of yen from pension benefits after his unrecorded passing.
Not much later, another discovery was uncovered after a one hundred thirteen year old women documented as Tokyo’s oldest surviving citizen had not been in contact with her family for over twenty years. Government officials are still trying to find Fusa Furuya who has not been seen since approximately 1986.
The fact that Japanese authorities are so lax at keeping precise documentation is being cited as the cause for stringent laws for privacy and the deterioration of family and societal connections. “It seems like these individuals were living in seclusion, given the incongruity of their transience, this in spite of the family registration process,” stated minister of justice, Keiko Chiba, to journalists.
The government study survey revealed that two hundred thirty four thousand three hundred fifty four centenarians are currently recorded as being alive but their addresses cannot be verified. Authorities believe a number of these had passed away and were unrecorded due to the incomprehension that followed the conclusion of World War Two, and still some may have just lost contact with family or relatives, perhaps moving away overseas and not notifying anyone of their departure.
All of this needless to say has been quite awkward for a nation that admires its senior members of society. Each September, individuals who have achieved the age of one hundred or are close to reaching the century mark, take delivery of a trophy and a letter of congratulations from their Prime Minister.
This fiasco is a joint indicator of the rocky governmental effort to keep accurate documentation in a population that has one of the world’s most rapidly aging citizenry – one in every five Japanese are sixty five years of age or more.
Based on statements by the ministry of health, Japan has forty thousand three hundred ninety nine centenarians whose addresses have been verified and that is three times the number of only ten years ago. The female population of Japan has an average life expectancy of 86.4 years of age [the longest life span on the globe], while men have an average of 79.6 years old.
The government authorities have said that this discovery would only impact longevity numbers slightly since they are based on data from census gathering done while visiting residences. Additionally, men over the age of ninety eight and women over one hundred three years of age are not included in life span computation.
For many years now the Japanese have been lauded as the longevity benchmark for all other nationalities to aspire to. Scientific and medical experts have been investigating and studying the lifestyle, diets and genetics of this Asian culture for many years. Specifically the island of Okinawa has been admired for its number of centenarians but also for the amazing physical and mental fitness levels of the elderly population as a whole.
Much has been made about the Japanese eating habits and how healthy and nutritious it is, based on the sea food and vegetables that make up the majority of their diet. It should be noted that even though there is some poor record keeping in place and potentially some fraudulent behavior happening, the general lifestyle and health of the elderly Japanese is still a model to which all westerners should aspire.