More than 230,000 Japanese centenarians 'missing'
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Summary

September 10, 2010: In Japan, a nation renowned for its longevity, it has been discovered that as many as 230,000 people over the age of 100 years are unaccounted for. An inquiry was started after officials went to congratulate Sogen Kato, the allegedly oldest man in the Tokyo area, for is 111st birthday and discovered his 30 year old mummified remains. Some are unaccounted for because the record are incomplete, as it is the case with many who died during World War II. However, it is suspected that pension fraud frequently is the culprit - relatives often don't announce the death of an elderly relative so that they are able to draw upon their pension payments.

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Game and Story Use

  • Of course, "pension fraud" is just a smokescreen. The real problem is that evil spirits are kidnapping old people for inscrutable purposes - and the Japanese government doesn't want to admit that they can't deal with the problem…
  • Or that these people are undead and don't want to meet the government.
  • Other possible explanations could include a spate of non-existent people being registered at such a point in time that they are all roughly centenarians by now.
    • Or that they died or disappeared years ago without anyone noticing … perhaps in the post WW2 era.
  • Alternatively, perhaps this part of a super-secret euthanasia project - the government (or another organization) are afraid of the steadily aging Japanese population and are thus trying to kill off old people to improve the demographics and make the Japanese population younger (and thus, more productive).
  • Japanese myth suggests that domestic goods over a century old are prone to becoming self aware and occasionally animate (these are called tsukumogami - "tool memory spirits") … perhaps this might be even more the case for people … some of these missing elders might have undergone a limited form of apotheosis and become kami in their own right.
  • Possibly there is a wave of immortals - or at least very long lived mortals - who have "reincarnated" themselves as their own children to avoid attracting too much scrutiny for failure to age. They may have been doing this for centuries but modern population recording is finally catching up with them as they are unable to produce their previous identities.
    • If they were a significant group, some kind of milkman conspiracy might be in order: some of them acquire medical certification to allow them to produce evidence of live birth and natural death, others set up a crematorium to stage phantom funerals, then when it is time to "reincarnate" they all turn up to the funeral and greet the new "heir" who has appeared to inherit.
    • You could have a whole town of them… complete with a maternity home that is used far less than records indicate and some very secretive schools. And probably an alarming number of middle aged childless couples.
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