Man suffering from dementia could lose house after forgetting about court hearing

By Cara Clegg

As Japan’s population continues to grow older, the nation is having to change to cope with the challenges that come with this aging demographic. The following story is just one unfortunate example of how current systems can fail to meet the needs of the elderly.

The gist of the case, which will strike anyone as ridiculously unfair, is that an elderly man suffering from dementia could lose his house for failing to turn up to court proceedings.

A few years ago the man bought a used car, but as he would withdraw his pension as soon as it was deposited in his bank account he ended up in arrears on the loan.

As he had signed the documents himself, the court accepted an official lawsuit. When the man did not appear at the courtroom, the court accepted the company’s claim against him as per the Civil Proceedings Act, meaning that he automatically lost his case.

However, due to his dementia, he hadn’t even been fully aware that he was being taken to the civil courts. The court ruled that the man’s house would be foreclosed and auctioned off, as the real estate company who filed the suit had requested.

After the court ruling his relatives spoke with a lawyer, who stated that "the man did not have the capacity for judgment to proceed with a law suit." He said that rendered the court’s decision ‘invalid’, and has sought temporary measures to put a stop to the auction. He also called it an "institutional defect" that a civil action suit could be filed without checking up on the mental state of the defendant.

Experts have pointed out the necessity for the legal system to take into account the person’s power of judgment, and offer protection for those involved via adult guardianship. Of course these systems can also be abused, but their existence offers much-needed protection for the vulnerable in society. As Japan’s aging population expands, the country’s institutions will have to respond appropriately in order to keep the elderly safe, and reduce the risk of defenseless and confused people facing possibly life-destroying situations such as this one.

Source: Hachima Kiko

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Family of 91-year-old dementia sufferer struck by train ordered to pay JR compensation -- Fukuoka man ordered to pay over one million yen for peeing in elevator…every day for half a year -- Subway mini skirt peeping tom found innocent

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This is where we are all potentially headed. Let's hope there is room in the legislation for common sense...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Am I the only one confused? The man bought a used car, failed to make payments, and was taken to court. Now his house is being auctioned off because he has no other way to pay off the car loan that is in arrears? But why did a real estate agency file suit? Did he buy the car from the real estate agency?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Sounds like he had a loan against the house to buy the car maybe.

Anyway common sense is something that needs to be applied here, don't take the old guys house sit down work it out, show some heart.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

After the court ruling his relatives spoke with a lawyer,

Where were these relatives before it got out of hand?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Maybe the car was a ferrari ? And the guy totaled it and the people who issued the loan to this guy also had dementia ?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Better bet would be that the real estate agency is dirty and thought to take advantage of the situation.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Finally found a few minutes to google a bit and found a Doshin Web (Hokkaido Shinbun) article that also leaves out a lot of details but still makes the situation a little clearer. So the now 87 year old man bought a car and arranged for payments from his bank account. But the payments couldn't be debuted because he kept emptying out his account. So his house was seized and put up for public suction to satisfy the debt. A real estate agency that keeps an eye on auction listings saw that info, bought out the 20% share of the house that was owned by the man's ex-wife and approached the man to sell his 80% share but were refused. So they filed the suit to force the auction and division of proceeds. There was more about the man's son and that they signed for the notifications about the suit that were delivered but didn't understand, blah, blah. Anyway now I understand how it was the real estate agency (and not a car dealer) that filed the suit so I can go to sleep!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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