When Tokyo welfare officials attempted to visit Sogen Kato, supposedly the oldest living man in Tokyo, to update their records for Respect for the Elderly Day in September, his granddaughter rebuffed them, saying Kato “[didn’t] want to see anybody.” Suspicious, they notified local police, who forced their way into Kato’s Adachi ward home — on his 111th birthday, no less — to find his mummified remains in a bed, covered in a blanket.
A post-mortem investigation has revealed Kato, whose corpse was dressed only in underwear and pajamas, may have been dead for over 30 years.
Officials had tried to see Kato since earlier this year, but his family members chased them away various times. The Jiji Press notes that Kato’s relatives told police the old man had “confined himself in his room more than 30 years ago and became a living Buddha.”
It turns out by keeping up the pretense of Kato’s continued good health, the family was able to swindle 9.5 million yen, or $109,000 U.S. dollars of widower’s pension payments via Kato’s bank account since his wife died six years ago. Reportedly, some of the money had been withdrawn recently.
The pension fund had also failed to contact Mr Kato for a “long” period.
Never mind keeping the mummified corpse of a family member in bed; what’s worse is that the family patiently hid the body for 24 years to collect money. Respect for the Elderly Day wasn’t celebrated in that home, it appears.
The family is now under police investigation on possible fraud charges.
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