25 Feb 2012

Three found dead of poverty in Japan

9:10 am on 25 February 2012

The discovery of three bodies in an apartment in Japan has raised concern over "lonely deaths".

Increasing numbers of poverty stricken elderly people are dying lonely and unnoticed deaths in Japan.

The latest deaths were discovered on Tuesday in Saitama, north of Tokyo. Electricity and gas to the house had been cut off, there was no food in the house and only a few one-yen coins.

It is believed they were a couple in their 60s and their son in his 30s who died of starvation.

Municipal officials say the family of three had not registered for welfare benefits.

The BBC reports Japan has seen a number of similar cases in recent years. Such deaths are referred to as "kodokushi" - lonely deaths.

Last month two sisters in their 40s were found dead in a freezing apartment on the northern island of Hokkaido.