by Frank McCoy, From the AARP Bulletin Print Edition, November 1, 2010
In July, Tokyo officials decided to honor the city's oldest resident, a 111-year-old man. After a relative wouldn't let them into the man's home, police were called. The man's remains — he may have been dead for 30 years — were found, and the family was questioned about collecting the deceased's monthly pension.
The centenarian isn't the only one who has been missing. It turns out that thousands of aged Japanese have seemingly vanished.
The furor intensified in September when Japan's Justice Ministry reported that the existence of 234,354 centenarians listed as "alive" in family registries couldn't be confirmed.
Despite frenzied media coverage, so far no one has verified either massive pension fraud or foul play in the disappearances. The Justice Ministry's survey of family registries only showed, embarrassingly, that vital residency data hadn't been updated nationwide for decades.
Please leave your comment below.
You must be logged in to leave a comment.
Members save 25% on their first healthy meal delivery order of 99+.
Members save 15% all day, every day at participating locations.
AARP members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.
You are leaving AARP.org and going to the website of our trusted provider. The provider’s terms, conditions and policies apply. Please return to AARP.org to learn more about other benefits.
Your email address is now confirmed.
Manage your email preferences and tell us which topics interest you so that we can prioritize the information you receive.
Explore all that AARP has to offer.
In the next 24 hours, you will receive an email to confirm your subscription to receive emails
related to AARP volunteering. Once you confirm that subscription, you will regularly
receive communications related to AARP volunteering. In the meantime, please feel free
to search for ways to make a difference in your community at