「111歳」男性 背後にある高齢者行政の不安

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Aug. 2, 2010)
Authorities must ensure elderly are protected
「111歳」男性 背後にある高齢者行政の不安(8月1日付・読売社説)

How could that man be "healthy" for such a long time? It is simply astonishing and raises endless questions.
 この人はなぜ、長い年月、“健在”でいられたのだろう。驚きとともに疑問が尽きない。

On July 22, skeletal remains believed to be those of a person recognized as the oldest living man in Tokyo were found on a bed at his home in Adachi Ward. Sogen Kato would be 111 years old if he were alive today, but he actually died more than 30 years ago.
 7月22日で111歳、東京都内の男性最高齢者とされていた人が、実は30年以上前に死亡しており、自宅ベッドに寝かされたまま、白骨に近い状態で見つかった事件だ。

Kato lived with his daughter and her husband, both in their 80s, and two grandchildren aged 49 and 53.
 東京都足立区の家には、ともに80歳代の長女夫婦と、49歳と53歳になる孫2人が暮らしていた。

According to his grandchildren, Kato remained cloistered in his room, and died there, after declaring about 30 years ago that he "wanted to be a living Buddha." They say the family never entered his room after that.
 孫の話では、男性は三十数年前に「即身成仏したい」と言って部屋に閉じこもり、そのまま亡くなったという。以来、家族は部屋に入ることもないまま、今日に至ったとされている。

This is very hard to believe. The Metropolitan Police Department is investigating his family's actions on suspicion of negligence as guardians resulting in death, but it will not be easy to determine how Kato died.
 にわかには信じがたい話だ。警視庁が保護責任者遺棄致死の疑いで調べているが、亡くなった経緯の解明は容易ではなかろう。

One thing for certain is that Kato was alive on his family register and believed to be continuing to age.
 確かな点は、男性が戸籍上は生存し、ずっと年齢を重ねていたことである。

Benefits outlived recipient

Payments were made in Kato's name of his noncontributory old-age pension benefits prior to his wife's death in 2004, after which payments of survivor's mutual aid pension benefits were made. A total of nearly 10 million yen was deposited into Kato's account, from which a considerable sum has been withdrawn.
 2004年に死去した妻の遺族共済年金と、それ以前は本人の老齢福祉年金も支給されてきた。1000万円近くが振り込まれた銀行口座からは、相当額が引き出されていた。

The MPD also plans to question Kato's relatives over whether they attempted to fraudulently obtain his pension benefits.
 警視庁は年金詐欺の疑いでも事情を聞くという。

Many cases have recently been uncovered across the country in which children who depended on their parents' pensions continued to receive benefits illegally by concealing the parents' deaths. We hope police will thoroughly investigate this latest case to prevent similar acts.
 親の年金を頼りに生活してきた子が、死亡を隠して受給し続けるケースは最近、各地で発覚している。新たな不正を招かぬためにも徹底した捜査を求めたい。

This case was uncovered after the Adachi Ward Office became suspicious and contacted police when welfare officials from the ward repeatedly visited Kato's home to see him but his family refused to let them in.
 今回の事件は、区の民生委員が何度訪問しても家族が本人に会わせないことを不審に思い、区が警察に相談したことで、ようやく事態が判明した。

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, "If someone's family refuses, it's difficult for administrative authorities to take further steps."
 厚生労働省などは「家族に拒まれれば、行政がそれ以上立ち入るのは困難」という。

Until the case was uncovered, the ward office systematically gave Kato gifts to celebrate his longevity without seeing his face or knowing his circumstances.
 それまで区は、男性の顔も近況も分からぬまま、事務的に長寿祝いの品を届けていた。

Elderly may suffer in secrecy

We cannot help but feel misgivings about such a situation from the standpoint of prevention of the abuse of elderly people and confirmation of their health. The relevant systems and authorities must be checked.
 この状況には、高齢者の虐待防止や健康確認の面からも危惧(きぐ)を覚えずにいられない。制度や権限を点検する必要がある。

In the latest case, administrative authorities might have taken action much earlier if there was a mechanism that provided such information as the fact that Kato had not received medical or other services for the elderly for a long period of time.
 診療や高齢者サービスを長期間受けていない、といった情報が分かる仕組みがあったなら、行政はもっと早く動けた可能性がある。

There must be coordination with the social security system as well.
社会保障制度をうまく連携させることが重要だ。

There have been an increasing number of cases in which the name of an elderly person does not appear on a list of "golden agers" because of requests for privacy from the elderly person or their family. Administrative officials do not necessarily meet the elderly person directly to confirm their situation.
 近年は、長寿者名簿もプライバシーへの配慮から、本人や家族の希望ということで実名を出さないケースが増えている。必ずしも、行政の担当者が直接会って近況を確認しているわけではない。

This latest incident has highlighted worrying elements of the administration of elderly people's affairs.
 高齢者行政の不安な一面を浮き彫りにした事件でもある。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Aug. 1, 2010)
(2010年8月1日01時24分 読売新聞)
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2010-08-02 06:17 | 英字新聞

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