Twice a week, Yukie Ushijima visits a nursing home on the outskirts of Tokyo to meet her 80-year-old mother waiting on the other side of a clear plastic sheet.

Ushijima talks to her through the transparent curtain draped over the facility’s reception desk. Her mother smiles when asked about her day, sometimes with a puzzled expression — the octogenarian has advanced dementia and often can’t recognize her daughter.

Unable to view this article?

This could be due to a conflict with your ad-blocking or security software.

Please add japantimes.co.jp and piano.io to your list of allowed sites.

If this does not resolve the issue or you are unable to add the domains to your allowlist, please see out this support page.

We humbly apologize for the inconvenience.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.