Mystery mounts as more centenarians missing in Japan

12:58, August 04, 2010      

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Japanese officials began a search this week for a 113-year-old woman, listed as Tokyo's oldest living person, just days after the police found the mummified remains of what was believed to be the city's oldest man, local media reported on Wednesday.

Ahead of a holiday next month in honor of Japan's elderly, city officials were updating their records and found that Fusa Furuya, born in July 1897 and listed as Tokyo's oldest citizen, did not reside at the address where she was registered.

Ward officials announced earlier in the week that the centenarian has not lived at her registered address in Suginami Ward for decades and on officially becoming the city's oldest person last September officials admitted they had not met Furuya to confirm her address or condition.

Furuya's estranged 79-year-old daughter told officials she believed her mother was with her younger brother, with whom she claimed to have lost touch, but the address she gave for him turned out to be an empty plot of land.

A two-story apartment building that stood on the lot was demolished last year to make way for an expressway, sources said.

Police are currently interviewing the brother and the daughter, but Furuya's whereabouts still remain a mystery.

Concern is growing about the Japanese government's ability to effectively monitor the whereabouts and condition of the nation's rapidly aging population and this week's revelation that Tokyo's supposedly oldest women has not in fact been seen for decades comes on the back of last week's morbid discovery.

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