There’s much talk lately about missing centenarians – 281 as of mid-August, people aged 100 or more who, suddenly discovered not to be where they were officially domiciled, may be anywhere for all anyone knows, or nowhere – dead.
Somehow missing people in their 60s and 70s get very little attention, but there are plenty of them too, says Shukan Post (Sept 3). The magazine gives no numbers, except 60/40 – the ratio among the missing “young elderly” of men to women. But an NPO involved in the search for missing persons has enough anecdotes at hand to suggest that the problem is very real.
“In the case of the missing men,” says Sakae Furuuchi, the NPO’s director-general, “it’s most often a matter of job stress or money worries. With women, though, in the overwhelming majority of cases, it’s a romantic entanglement.”
Not always, of course. A certain “Ms C,” for example, seems to have been “spirited away.” She and her husband are pensioners in their 70s, and one day she simply vanished. Her wallet and bank book were in the house. A home security camera recorded her leaving with only a handbag. A friend suggested she had probably gone to Kyoto to be with others who shared her religious faith – what faith is not specified. So the investigation shifted to Kyoto, but so far has turned up nothing.
More typical is the case of “Mr A,” who, just shy of 60, was looking forward to his pending retirement. Free at last, he thought. “We’ll go on trips, have a good time...” But with just a few months of office grind left in his life, he came home one evening to find his wife gone. That was the first shock. The second was that she had raided his bank account.
“We were a couple in name only,” is what Ms A told Furuuchi. “I never got a word out of him.”
She appears to be one of many who, once found, are deaf to any persuasion to return home.
“Mr B,” too, experienced the shock of coming home one day to an empty house. He and his wife are both in their 60s. He was still working, having found a post-retirement job. The wife was sought, and found. She had taken up residence at a mountain hot spring, where it seems she and her lover meet two or three times a week.
“They worked for the same company,” Furuuchi says. “Ms B began to fear that her husband was on to them. Thus her sudden departure.”
The common thread among many of the women,Furuuchi explains to Shukan Post, “is a feeling, intensifying as they grow older, of being in a stifling environment with no one to associate with except husband and relatives.”
It’s never too late to discover that there’s a great big world out there awaiting those venturesome enough to plunge into it.© Japan Today