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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 March, 2005, 15:45 GMT
Man found dead after '10 years'
Map of Japan showing location of Itami
A Japanese man said to be Itami city's oldest male has been found dead at his home up to a decade after his death.

The man's mummified body was found lying face down on a bed in the home he shared with his children after a relative called the police.

Kyujiro Kaneoka was believed to have been alive, aged 107, and was named as Itami's oldest man six years ago.

The mayor visited his house every year but his family refused to let the him in, saying the man was bedridden.

"The body was wearing a clean kimono. He is believed to be dead for five to 10 years. We are talking to his family members why they kept him like this," an official told the AFP news agency.

'Too weak'

The three siblings said they thought their father was still alive, but one recently consulted a relative about the possibility he might be dead, a police spokesman said.

A report in the Mainichi Daily News said the man's son and two daughters kept his kimono-clad body in the first room of their house in Itami, 400km (250 miles) west of Tokyo.

The futon on which the body was laid was surrounded by religious amulets, charms and tokens, the report said.

The cause of his death has yet to be determined, police said.

An official with the Itami city hall told the AFP news agency that the city was considering asking Kaneoka's family to return gifts it had received since 1999 as a token of the man's longevity.

"Every year we gave the family 30,000 yen ($288; 150) and a cashmere blanket worth 20,000 yen ($192; 100)," the official said.


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