Magazine

Apr 1, 2015

A Lonely Death

A Lonely Death

In rapidly ageing Japan, more people are dying alone and unnoticed. Specialist clean-up crews are on hand to cleanse "lonely death" apartments once their passing is spotted, including placing incense and flowers. In March, the body of a man in his 80s was found on the floor of his apartment in Tokyo. He had been dead for a month. The family didn't visit and the only reason for the body's discovery was the slight smell that troubled the downstairs neighbour. In a country where around 5 million elderly people live alone, the number of decaying bodies found in empty homes is expected to soar.

A Lonely Death
1

Hirotsugu Masuda, a worker for special cleaning, prays before entering a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
2

Hirotsugu Masuda, a worker for special cleaning, reacts as he enters a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
3

Hundreds of flies are seen at a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
4

A worker for special cleaning makes uses insecticides smoke to kill flies in a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
5

Payment and value of an annuity certificate is seen at a flat in Tokyo March 21, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
6

A bathtub and toilet are seen in a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
7

Workers for special cleaning put garbage into a plastic bags at a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
8

A watch and letters are left discarded at a flat in Tokyo March 21, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
9

Leftover rice and milk cartons are seen in the kitchen of a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
10

Workers for special cleaning put rubbish into a plastic bags at a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
11

Packaged condoms are seen in discarded rubbish in a flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 as it is cleaned by specialists where a body of an 85 year-old man was left over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
12

Hirotsugu Masuda, a worker for special cleaning, checks belongings for documents to protect the owners family from identity theft and to find pictures that family members may value during special cleaning at a flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
13

A worker for a special cleaning, sweeps tatami flooring mats at a flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
14

Hirotsugu Masuda, a worker for special cleaning, sweeps tatami mats at a flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
15

A special cleaning worker carries tatami mats out of a flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
16

A special cleaning worker loads a van with rubbish from a garbage-filled flat in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
17

Hirotsugu Masuda, a special cleaning worker prays in front of a stain on the floor in Tokyo March 20, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
18

A special cleaning worker and flat landlord Yoshie Fukuhara (R), 77, check belongings for documents to protect the owner's family from identity theft and to find pictures that family members may value at a flat in Tokyo March 21, 2015 where a body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
19

Flat landlord Yoshie Fukuhara, 77, lays flowers as she prays where the body of an 85 year-old man was left for over a month after the special cleaning of the flat in Tokyo March 21, 2015. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
20

Flat landlord Yoshie Fukuhara, 77, locks a door of her flat where a body of 85 year-old man was left for over a month after a special cleaning in Tokyo March 21, 2015. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

A Lonely Death
21

The graves for people who have no-one to tend them are seen at a temple in Tokyo March 30, 2015. Toru Hanai/REUTERS

You may also like

  • Border jam puts...

  • New Dehli covered in a haze of...

  • The Photos Of 2017 Week 44

  • Labor of love French chateau...

  • Venezuelan crisis spawns boom...

  • London life laid bare in...

Something to say? Use Facebook!

Or say it with Disqus!

comments powered by Disqus