The spectacular truth about the solitary deaths of the elderly: A special cleaning company reveals that “pets left behind eat the bodies…” An eye-opening scene. | FRIDAY DIGITAL

The spectacular truth about the solitary deaths of the elderly: A special cleaning company reveals that “pets left behind eat the bodies…” An eye-opening scene.

Nonfiction writer Kota Ishii approaches the reality of "society of the elderly without relatives.

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Bodies can be eaten by pets. …… (Photo is an image only)

I.M.U., based in Hokkaido, provides special cleaning services. Following on from Part I: A Special Cleaner’s Shocking Sight: Hundreds of Plastic Bags Containing Stools and 20m of Garbage “, we would like to introduce the story of Takayuki Sakamoto, President and Representative Director of AIMU.

In an aging society, the number of elderly people living alone is increasing every year. How many elderly people are living alone in Japan?

According to the statistics for 2020, there are approximately 2.31 million men and 4.41 million women. In total, nearly 7 million elderly people are spending the rest of their lives alone.

In the past, even though the elderly lived alone, they still had ties to the community and had opportunities to socialize with neighbors and visit relatives who lived nearby. However, with the depopulation of rural areas and people living in urban areas with which they have no connection, the number of those without ties to the community has increased.

These elderly people are now seeking pets as a means of easing their loneliness. They try to fill their hearts with animals such as dogs and cats. However, there are times when these elderly people suddenly collapse in their homes and do not return home. It is a lonely death.

When food runs out in the house, ……

When Mr. Sakamoto goes to special cleaning sites, he sometimes finds pets left behind. The pet is the only one left alive after the homeowner has died.

At such sites, there is often a large amount of pet feces scattered about. When Mr. Sakamoto sees this, he has a certain concern.

In his own words.

When a homeowner suddenly passes away, the pets are sometimes left at home. At first, the pets will try to fend off hunger by scavenging for food in the house, but when that runs out, they may get their hands on the homeowner’s corpse.”

Typically, when there is a solitary death, the police investigate the scene and remove the body for an autopsy. But they do not take pets with them.

It is only after that that Sakamoto and other special cleaners enter the house. If the pet is found two or three months after the homeowner died alone, the pet would have been confined to the house for that entire time. And yet, if the pet is rotund and fat, with large feces lying all over the house, there is only one possible reason.

-the pet may have survived by devouring the homeowner’s body.

Perhaps the client (relative or owner of the apartment complex) would have noticed this from the conditions at the scene where they found the body and the appearance of the body, or would have been told about it by the police. However, they do not go to the trouble of telling this in detail to the special cleaning company. They simply ask them to clean up the house and “dispose” of the pet at the same time.

In these cases, what to do with the pets is a concern for special cleaners. The client does not want to take in a pet that has survived by eating the homeowner. That is why they ask special cleaners like Mr. Sakamoto to dispose of the pets along with the furniture, but these days even public health centers do not easily take in pets. For example, they can only take pets if they can show proof that they have asked animal shelters to take them in and have been turned down by numerous animal shelters.

That’s a lot of work for special cleaners. However, they cannot just throw pets out into the wild, so they have to explain the situation to the animal shelter and then ask them to take them in. Of course, until then, it is up to the special cleaners to take care of the pets.

The elderly people are so lonely that they keep the pets,” says Sakamoto.

I can understand why elderly people would want to keep a pet because they are lonely. However, the shock of seeing the corpse of a relative who has been eaten by a pet is immeasurable. I would like elderly people who live alone to think that far ahead before deciding whether or not to keep a pet.

Cleaning up pieces of meat and bodily fluids over the course of a full day

Even pets would not want to eat their beloved landlords. However, if the owner dies unexpectedly and is confined to the house, it is an animal’s instinct to try to survive by eating the corpse. As a result, all the people left behind, including the pets, are in a difficult situation.

Of course, the same is true for special cleaners. Not only this, but it is unimaginably stressful to clean up decomposing bodies that have been left for weeks or months in the middle of summer.

Not long ago, a person died in a bathroom and had to spend an entire day cleaning up the pieces of flesh and body fluids that had dissolved into mush in the hot water. Fingers and other items were found in the bathtub, so they contacted the police to have them taken away again (even though the contractors could clean up the head hair and body fluids, body parts cannot be thrown away on their own because they are considered dead bodies).

It is a daunting task, but not everyone can handle this kind of work just because they are employees of a special business cleaning company. Whenever Mr. Sakamoto sends an employee to a site, he explains the situation in detail beforehand and confirms that the employee is able to do the work. He says that those who are not accustomed to the horrific scene will never get used to it, no matter how much he tries.

Says Sakamoto.

For my part, I think everyone should imagine the end-of-life scene at least once. This is especially true for the middle-aged and the elderly. What to do with one’s belongings, what to do with one’s pets, who to ask to handle one’s business, and how to pay for it. As long as you properly think about what will happen after your death and do what needs to be done, those around you will not have to go through any hardship.

For more details about the work of special cleaners, please read “Mukonen-ojin” (The Unmarried Elderly Man).

In any case, people are kept alive by others. That is why it is important to do what we can so that we will not be a burden to those around us after our death, rather than the end of our lives when we die.

  • Interview and text Kota Ishii

    Born in Tokyo in 1977. Nonfiction writer. He has reported and written about culture, history, and medicine in Japan and abroad. His books include "Absolute Poverty," "The Body," "The House of 'Demons'," "43 Killing Intent," "Let's Talk about Real Poverty," "Social Map of Disparity and Division," and "Reporto: Who Kills the Japanese Language?

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