• Kyodo News

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A pension association has filed a criminal complaint against relatives of a Tokyo man found dead at his home last month on suspicion of fraudulently receiving payments he would have been entitled to as a widower, investigative sources said Tuesday.

The complaint, filed by the Japan Mutual Aid Association of Public School Teachers, has prompted Tokyo police to investigate if the family of Sogen Kato, who would have been 111 if still alive, illegally received the pension money payable to his late wife, a former teacher, by making it appear that Kato was still alive, the sources said.

Kato’s mummified remains were found in July at his home in Adachi Ward. His family claimed he retreated to his room around 30 years ago and refused to have meals and water. He appeared to have died around the end of 1978, according to police sources.

His wife died in September 2004 at the age of 101. Since then, ¥9.45 million in pension payments have been deposited into his bank account, of which some ¥6 million has been withdrawn.

The discovery of his corpse drew attention to the fact a number of elderly people in Japan are unaccounted for. As of Aug. 4, local governments in 11 prefectures had no notion of the whereabouts of 33 people who would be 100 years old.

On Friday, the health ministry said a Nagano Prefecture man who hasn’t been seen for 30 years would be 110 if still alive. The ministry plans to soon stop sending his pension.

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