It looks as though hundreds of centenarians carried on the health ministry’s books, and helping to raise Japan’s average life expectancy through the roof, are missing:
The story unfolded in late July when police discovered that Sogen Kato, who would have been 111 and was thought to be Tokyo's oldest man, had actually been dead for 32 years, his decayed and partially mummified body still in his home.
Police are investigating his family for possible abandonment and pension fraud.
That discovery led officials around the country to check up on the centenarians in their own districts, and what they found has been shocking.
The woman listed as Tokyo's oldest, Fusa Furuya, born in July 1897, is also missing. Her last registered residence was long ago converted into a vacant lot.