81-year-old Japanese man arrested for murder after pushing wife’s wheelchair into sea

Police arrested an 81-year-old Japanese man after he allegedly pushed his wheelchair-bound wife into the sea. The man, Hiroshi Fujiwara, was arrested in the Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture in Japan with police saying he then admitted to killing his 79-year-old wife. Fujiwara said he was worn out from looking after her as she had been in a wheelchair for the past 40 years.

According to Japan Today, the incident occurred at 5.30 pm on Wednesday after police say Fujiwara drove his wife to the pier, put her in her wheelchair and pushed her along for a few minutes before tipping it off into the sea. He then allegedly drove to his eldest son’s home and confessed to what he had done. The son called the police, along with a fisherman who saw the body floating in the water.

The news has shocked Japan, but many say it is indicative of the situation that elderly persons face in the country. As many of them don’t have help, they end up looking after their loved ones who are also elderly.

According to the Borgen Project, Japan has a rapidly ageing society. And, coupled with a long life expectancy, many elderly persons are faced with difficult circumstances. As Fujiwara and his wife lived alone, the Borgen Project also noted that his situation isn’t uncommon.

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“One such issue….is the amount of elderly in Japan that live alone—a number that’s much higher in Japan than in other countries.”

“With a robust elderly population that only continues to grow, Japan faces an unconventional problem concerning its impoverished elder populations. Food security and homelessness have resurfaced as an increasing number of Japan’s older residents find themselves strapped for money and without access to basic needs. The number of those reliant on public assistance had been steadily decreasing since the mid-90s; however, recent socio-economic issues like COVID-19 have increased elderly poverty in Japan.”

“Home to an elderly population of 18.1%, Japan boasts one of the highest life expectancies in the world, at 81 and 87 years for men and women respectively. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Japan is expected to maintain and grow this high life expectancy. Since 2008, when Japan’s population peaked, it’s gradually been decreasing and ageing as the number of elderly increases and the rate of births slows. Those older than 65 comprise 28.4% of the population—a number that’s projected to reach 35.3% by 2040.”

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

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