Tokyo's oldest man found to have been dead for thirty years. Now we know why requests for interviews were declined. Here is a portion of the story as it was reported in The Telegraph three years ago. This came to light as ward officials were updating their list of centenarians for the September Respect for the Elderly Day.
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Japanese welfare officials have tried to meet Kato since earlier this year, but his family members repeatedly chased them away, saying Kato was well but didn’t want to see anyone, said Tomoko Iwamatsu, an official at Tokyo’s downtown Adachi Ward, where Kato lived.
Officials grew suspicious and sought an investigation by police, who forced their way into the house Wednesday. Police said the mummified body believed to be Kato was lying in his bed, wearing underwear and pyjamas, covered with a blanket.
His granddaughter told investigators Kato holed up in his room about 30 years ago after declaring he wanted to be a living Buddha, police and Tokyo officials said. They believe Kato died soon after that.
Tokyo police were investigating possible crimes on suspicion Kato’s family received pension money of the man and his dead wife.
“His family must have known he has been dead all these years and acted as if nothing happened,” said Tokyo metropolitan welfare official Yutaka Muroi. “It’s so eerie.”