A worker at Tokyo Station got an unpleasant shock after opening an abandoned suitcase that no one had claimed for a month — the decomposing body of an elderly woman inside.
The yellow suitcase had been left in an open coin locker near the station’s Marunouchi South Exit in late April, when it was picked up by an employee of the company that manages the lockers.
The body appeared to be that of a female aged between 70 and 90, police said.
Quoting the employee, police said the suitcase sat in a temporary storage area for unclaimed luggage in the station for over a month after being moved there from the locker in which it was initially found on the morning of April 26. The locker was not locked at the time.
On Sunday, after the deadline for claiming it had passed, the employee opened the unlocked suitcase and found the clothed corpse of a woman about 140 cm tall folded into the 70-cm-by-50-cm suitcase. The body, which was wrapped in a blanket, bore no significant external wounds, the police said.
“There was an abnormal odor when we opened the suitcase,” a spokesman for the locker company told reporters. “Then we saw hair.”
Nothing unusual, such as an odor, was observed about the suitcase, said Junichi Omoto, a spokesman for East Japan Railway Co.
“We were surprised and horrified,” he added.
The police said they had no leads on the woman’s identity but were investigating the cause of death and examining security camera footage for clues about who had left the suitcase.
The locker company employee said the suitcase was not in the locker on the morning of April 25 — the day before it was found — narrowing the timeline for its placement.
Tokyo Station is one of the busiest in Japan, handling around 150 million passengers a year, JR East said.
It is the terminus for a number of bullet train lines, and is a connection point for many suburban and subway routes.
“It surprises me that (a body was found) here,” said a woman from Kawasaki who had used that group of lockers.