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91-year-old woman, 62-year-old son freeze to death

18 Comments

A 91-year-old woman and her 62-year-old son apparently froze to death in their home in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, police said Monday.

According to police, Sumiko Niizuma and her son Akira were found dead on Saturday. An autopsy revealed that Sumiko has frozen to death but it didn’t show the cause of Akira’s death, Fuji TV reported.

Police said there were no external injuries on either body and that the kotatsu and heater in the room where the bodies were had not been used in awhile, although there was snow piled up outside.

Police said Akira was taking care of his mother who had dementia.

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18 Comments
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An argument for insulated housing, better heating systems?

3 ( +11 / -8 )

An argument for insulated housing, better heating systems?

It said the heater had not been used so no...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

But this is Fukushima ! With all the modern housing having been built for the victims, how could this have possibly happened ? There must be some mistake... ?

-6 ( +7 / -13 )

2 people died and it's time to make jokes?

5 ( +14 / -9 )

@ReformedBasher

You obviously don't recognize sarcasm when you see it... I still can't believe Abe is only interested in hosting the Olympics instead of taking care of the Fukushima victims.. and you call that a "joke" ???.

2 ( +8 / -6 )

It said the heater had not been used so no...

I disagree, Darknuts. Kerosine heaters are expensive, especially in badly insulated houses. While a women with dementia might accidentally freeze, her son would not. A family in poverty in a Japanese winter would find it hard to keep warm.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

I still can't believe Abe is only interested in hosting the Olympics instead of taking care of the Fukushima victims..

These two weren't earthquake victims living in a shelter, they were living in their own home. They had a heater, and a kotatsu, but like many Japanese, they were probably the types who shiver through the winter and sweat through the summer to avoid using the heating/airconditioner. Many Japanese say that using the heater too much dries out your skin, or causes health problems, and they use the same excuse about using the air conditioner. It is not usually a case of trying not to spend too much on heating bills (though this does happen), many well-to-do Japanese are the same way.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

Mainichi Newspaper ran this article on the mental health needs of children. Feb. 10, 2014 (Mon.) "1 in 4 disaster-hit children needs mental care for problem behavior: study" http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20140127p2a00m0na013000c.html

Would adults be in a better situation? The care of a parent with dimentia under normal conditions is hard enough.Another article says his mother screamed and the son called an ambulance on the 7th.

Perhaps being a retired or unemployed son without family or hope makes it that much worse.It is not written if he had a family and lost them in the disaster and had to move back in with his mother. It is a tragedy the government needs to face.

A drive up from Tokyo to that area and other areas in Fukushima, shows that whether or not they live in their own home or not, it is not a hopeful situation. They are downwind from the nuclear plant. Very sad and other deaths similar have happened and will happen. These people need help and hope.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

This points to one BIG problem in Japan.

The price to heat/cool a home is out of reach for the normal person so they either freeze to death or have heat strokes because of the prices.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Sadly, the younger probably died of other causes(stroke, heart attack, OD), and the elder may indeed have died of hypothermia, which is more believable than commonly thought.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Cases where a caregiving spouse, child or sibling dropped dead of a heart attack, stroke etc. and the person being cared for subsequently starved or froze to death have been reported all over the country. Why are people trying to connect this case to 3.11? Can nothing happen in Fukushima Prefecture now without claims of it being caused by the nuclear plant disaster? Is there any information in this article that connects the two events?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Ah_soFeb. 10, 2014 - 07:32PM JST Kerosine heaters are expensive, especially in badly insulated houses.

If you use kerosine heaters, you do not want well insulated houses with inadequate ventilation. Badly insulated houses work well for safety. Kerosene heaters, like ventless fireplaces, vent soot, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide directly into the living space. In Japan, kerosine heaters are used as the primary source for most home heating.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Bear27840 - It's not one problem at all! This is the result of many problems in japan!

Start with the cost of hearing and electricity

Lack of insulation in homes

Lack of community support for the elderly

Lack of support for mental illnesses

Lack of a decent pension system for the elderly

The list goes on!

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Lack of insulation in homes

Lack of community support for the elderly

Lack of support for mental illnesses

Lack of a decent pension system for the elderly

I agree with everything else but Lack of pension system for elderly people? I am not saying all but many of those elderly people who do not receive pension are the ones who did not pay while they were younger. People in their 80s and 90s paid a lot less money monthly for pension when they were younger (nothing like the amount we pay now). They still did not pay, and now they do not receive money. I am not saying these people deserve to freeze to die but to just blame on the pension system is too much. My grandfather who is in the 90s is receiving enough money every month to support him and my grandma in a private nursing home and they both comfortably live with the money they receive (the money grandpa paid when he was younger). They feel sorry for the younger generation, though, because we pay more and still we are not sure how much we will get when we are older.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

But this is Fukushima ! With all the modern housing having been built for the victims, how could this have possibly happened ? There must be some mistake... ?

Where does it say they were living in housing provided by the government for evacuees? The vast majority of people in that quite large prefecture still live in their own homes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Apsara

Where does it say they were living in housing provided by the government for evacuees? The vast majority of people in that quite large prefecture still live in their own homes.

It DOESN'T and that was my whole point ! You obviously don't recognize sarcasm when you see it either ! One of my friends has been to the region (as a volunteer) and he tells me that even for those living in their own homes, these had all been damaged by the earthquake... (Next time, I shall write "sarcasm" next to my comment so that everyone will understand...)

1 ( +2 / -1 )

FightingViking, I have to say I don't understand the point of your posts at all- the people involved weren't "Fukushima victims", so how is this incident in any way relevant to the earthquake? Not all the homes in Fukushima were damaged by the earthquake in any case, I have several friends in Koriyama whose houses were undamaged.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

give seniors solar panels and efficient heating systems for emergency use.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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