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Dying Alone

Kodokushi, Japan's epidemic of isolation through the eyes of a 'lonely death' cleaner

Lonely deaths, or kodokoshi, have become disturbingly common in Japan. Elderly people die alone in their apartments, where their bodies sometimes lie undiscovered for weeks or months… until neighbours catch whiff of the stench, that is.

Lonely death, or 'kodokushi' is very common in Japan: Volunteers keep an eye on 70-year-old Mr. Murata, as he has no family to look after him and he lives alone.
Volunteers keep an eye on 70-year-old Mr. Murata, as he has no family to look after him and he lives alone.

A whole industry has even emerged around the phenomenon, with numerous companies offering to clean out the homes of the deceased. An RTD crew went to Japan to learn why the situation has gotten so bad and find out how the cleaners feel about their jobs.

What do you think?

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