This news comes along with a rise in elderly abuse. The Japan Times reported that for the 2020 fiscal year, abuse to the elderly by relatives had reached $17,281 known cases and 25 deaths, which was up by more than two percent that year.
In Japan, the issue of elder abuse is particularly concerning because of the aging population. Among the 126 million people in the country, more than a fourth are older than 65. And this proportion is only expected to grow.
In response, the World Health Organization is looking for solutions to the growing problem of elder abuse. One study by Karger suggests social capital to be the strongest factor in reducing risk for elder abuse.
One person who read the story, as described by the Daily Mail, commented below the article, “Sadness. I wonder if he was abusive to her all these years and she was keeping it to herself. Poor poor lady. Anyone in this kind of vulnerable position needs more oversight.”
One wonders, if there had been more social support for Hiroshi and Teruko, would we be telling this story of the man pushes his wife into the sea?
According to his neighbors, the man was not sadistic to their knowledge.
While the man is responsible for his actions and they are horrific, to say the least, if he had had more support in his wife’s care, would he have been driven to this action? We may never know.
If nothing more, this makes me think about how I might offer practical, as well as emotional support to my neighbors, and how, if everyone in a community did this, how much it could potentially help those who are suffering from elder abuse or who are lonely caregivers.