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November 20, 2008

Elder Care: Knife Attacks May be Tied to Pension Scandal (Japan)

Knife Attacks in Japan May Be Tied to Pension Scandal

By Blaine Harden and Akiko Yamamoto
Washington Post Foreign Service
November 19, 2008

TOKYO, Nov. 19 -- Bureaucrats here have infuriated the Japanese public by losing millions of government pension records. This week, someone with a knife and a willingness to kill appears to be hunting them down.
Riddled with stab wounds, the bodies of Takehiko Yamaguchi, 66, and his wife, Michiko, 61, were found Tuesday morning in their home in a Tokyo suburb. Takehiko Yamaguchi was head of the Health and Welfare Ministry's pension division when the national pension system underwent a major record-keeping overhaul in 1985.
On Tuesday evening, Yasuko Yoshihara, 72, wife of former pension bureaucrat Kenji Yoshihara, 76, was stabbed in the chest by a man who came to her home in Tokyo claiming that he worked for a parcel delivery service, police said.
En route to a hospital, she said that her husband, who was not at home when the attack occurred, "may be a target and is in danger," according to Japanese news media. Kenji Yoshihara's tenure as head of the Social Insurance Agency in the mid-1980s coincided with the botched computerization of Japan's pension records.
Millions of those records have since gone missing, outraging the elderly and contributing to the resignations of two prime ministers.
The mess continues, and many Japanese fear they might not receive full pension benefits when they retire.

Abridged
SOURCE: Washington Post
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