Earlier I wrote that Japan realized it had lost track of a lot of their oldest people and they had discovered that their “oldest living man” had in fact died 30 years ago and his family was keeping his body in the house and stealing his pension money. Well, Japan is still scrambling to find out the whereabouts and well-being of the 40,000 or so centenarians allegedly living within their borders. (For the uninitiated, “centenarian” means a person over 100 years old.)
The Times of India has a great quote about the problems inherent in Japanese record-keeping: “The pension system is founded on the premise that people are good, not that they kill family members at home, and bury them.” The Wall Street Journal is also covering the story.
In America, after an old person receiving Social Security reaches a certain age (not sure what age, probably 90 or so) they are required to personally present themselves to the Social Security Administration to prove they are still alive. This is what got Walter Dunson‘s son in trouble and forced him to report his long-dead father missing. Japan ought to adopt a similar system, as it seems like the only surefire method to prove these people are, in fact, living and receiving their benefits. And maybe include a fingerprint check or something too, so some random old person can’t impersonate the person the SSA wants to see.