August 30, 2010

JAPAN: Daughter of '102-year-old woman' facing fraud charges in Fukushima

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture  / The Japan Times / Kyodo News / August 30, 2010

Police said Sunday they had arrested the 70-year-old daughter of a woman registered as 102 years old but who is most likely dead, for allegedly defrauding the city of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, of ¥300,000 in special benefits her mother would have been owed if she were alive.

Aiko Watanabe, the fifth daughter of Michi Watanabe, turned herself in Saturday after skeletal remains were found at their home. She told investigators that her mother died in about 1996, but that she used the money her mother was still receiving to cover living expenses, they said.

Police believe the remains are those of Michi Watanabe, given her daughter's account and autopsy results indicating she died more than five years ago. They are now investigating whether the suspect falsely received her pension benefits.

Based on the suspect's allegedly false response to an inquiry about elderly people, the city paid out benefits related to her mother's centenary in September 2007, according to the police.

The office lost contact with her on Aug. 19 after trying to confirm the mother's presence following revelations that several centenarians are also unaccounted for in other parts of Japan.

(C) The Japan Times

Read earlier report about Michi Watanabe in MAINICHI JAPAN