A 32-year-old woman was found dead of apparent starvation in her western Tokyo apartment Wednesday and her severely malnourished friend, who was lying next to her, was hospitalized, police said, speculating the pair had not eaten since mid-January.

The woman, who was unemployed, and her 30-year-old longtime friend had been living together in the apartment in Akishima’s Showa district since last February, police said Thursday.

Alerted by the caretaker of the building, police entered the apartment and found the two women lying on a mattress. There was no food inside the unit and it was not immediately known why they had not eaten for so long.

Electricity and gas for the apartment, which was rented under the 32-year-old woman’s name, had been cut off and bills and rent had not been paid, police said.

The two had been living off savings, but they began to fall behind in their rent and utility payments four months ago, according to police.

The 32-year-old woman’s mother, who lives in Tokyo, had been making frequent visits to the apartment until about six months ago, when the two occupants wouldn’t open the door to let her in. , police said.

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