Friday, August 06, 2010

Japan Starts Verifying Its Centenarians' Whereabouts

An alert has been raised in Japan via its health ministry to check countrywide the real existence of the elderly people at their recorded addresses. This alert came in the wake of the discovery of a 111-year-old Tokyo man’s preserved body; he had died 30 years ago at the age of 81, and someone had kept his body preserved at home with a mummification method.

The man was presumed to be alive, and living at his address, as per the records maintained by the health ministry.

Another serious incident reported was that an elderly lady, 113 years of age, was not found living at the address registered with the government. Her current whereabouts are unknown, and nobody could ascertain how many years ago she left this residence.

Approximately 40,000 centenarians, according to the census taken in October of last year, require verification. With repeated reports of missing centenarians in Japan, the health ministry got worried and took action to speed up this task.

In my opinion, not all countries would be worried about the whereabouts of its elderly people. Usually as happens in a family, in nations also, the value of elderly people starts decreasing as they are thought of as having no value to the family or nation.

Some nations still care and try to ascertain that the addresses of the elderly people of the nation, as per their official records, corresponds to their presence at that address.

Japan seems to be one of them. This wake is genuine or under some pressure from some NGO or opposition is yet to be seen. But somehow the exercise seems to be in the interest of the ignored elderly community. Centenarians going into isolated places on their own also could be one of the reasons that may get revealed during these investigations.

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