Tokyo: A 113-year-old woman listed as Tokyo`s oldest person is missing, officials said Tuesday, days after the city`s oldest man was found dead and mummified.
Fusa Furuya, born in July 1897, does not live at the address in the Japanese capital where she is registered and her whereabouts are unknown, Tokyo Suginami ward official Hiroshi Sugimoto said.
Her disappearance surfaced just days after the shocking discovery last week that Tokyo`s oldest man, who would have been 111 years old, had actually been dead for decades.
Officials said that they had not personally contacted the two oldest people for decades, despite their listing as the longest-living in the city. They apparently found out that the man was dead, and Furuya missing, when they began updating their records ahead of a holiday in honour of the elderly that is to be observed next month.
Officials visited Furuya`s apartment last Friday, but her 79-year-old daughter said she has never lived there.
The daughter, whose name was not disclosed, told officials she was not aware of her mother`s registration at that address and said she thought her mother was just outside Tokyo with her younger brother, with whom she has lost touch.
But when officials checked that address they found a vacant lot.
Officials are also looking for a 106-year-old man who is missing in Nagoya, central Japan, Kyodo News agency reported. The Asahi newspaper said three more centenarians were unaccounted for.
The number of centenarians in Japan has been rising for decades.
Japan has 40,399 people aged 100 or older, including 4,800 in Tokyo, according to an annual Health Ministry report last year marking a September 21 holiday honouring the elderly. Each centenarian receives a letter and a gift from a local government office — usually by mail.
In the earlier case, police are investigating the family of the man found dead and mummified on suspicion of abandonment and swindling his pension money. Sogen Kato is believed to have died 32 years ago after he had retreated to his bedroom, saying he wanted to be a living Buddha.
Health and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma has urged officials to find a better way to monitor centenarians, but local officials say it is hard to keep track because their families are often reluctant to receive official visits.
Many also send their elderly relatives to nursing homes without doing the proper paperwork.