Lonely deaths of elderly people living alone in Japan reach alarming numbers

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19th May 2024 – (Tokyo) A recent survey conducted by Japan’s National Police Agency (NPA) has shed light on the concerning issue of “lonely deaths” among elderly individuals living alone in the country. The survey, which covered a total of 60,466 deceased individuals handled by the Japanese police from January to March 2024, revealed that 17,034 elderly people died alone in their homes during this period.

These “lonely deaths” refer to cases where a person passes away without anyone witnessing it, with a significant period elapsing before the body is discovered. The survey found that nearly 80 percent of these deaths, amounting to 17,034 individuals, were aged 65 and over. Among them, 2,080 were between the ages of 65 and 69, 3,204 between 70 and 74, 3,480 between 75 and 79, 3,348 between 80 and 84, and a staggering 4,922 were aged 85 and above.

The data collected by the NPA serves as a wake-up call for the government, highlighting the pressing need to address the challenges posed by an increasingly ageing population. Efforts to tackle this issue are expected to continue, with the NPA playing a crucial role in monitoring and collecting comprehensive data.

Based on the survey, it is estimated that the total number of deaths at home among elderly people living alone in 2024 will reach approximately 68,000. This alarming figure emphasises the urgency of implementing effective measures and support systems to ensure the well-being and safety of elderly individuals in Japan.