For some, Tokyo Station might be the ‘last stop’

Tokyo police arrested an elderly man for leaving the ashes of his wife inside a coin locker at Tokyo Station
Tokyo police arrested an elderly man for leaving the ashes of his wife inside a coin locker at Tokyo Station

Tokyo Metropolitan Police last week announced the arrest of Shoji Suzuki, 74, on suspicion of abandoning an urn containing his wife’s remains at a coin-operated locker at JR Tokyo Station.

Suzuki, a part-time worker who lives in Ichikawa City, Chiba Prefecture, allegedly committed the crime at around noon on September 30, 2016. His wife had died of an illness and was cremated in August of 2014.

While this appears to have been an incredibly selfish incident, Tokyo Sports (Jan. 14) says that there seem to be a large number of unbelievable items that are left inside the coin lockers at Tokyo Station.

“They vary — guns, money that mustn’t attract public attention, mysterious antiques. It’s a big train station, and there are said to be more than 4,000 coin-operated lockers there,” says a writer who specializes in rail systems. “Coin lockers are sometimes used for drug transactions, too.”

In the case of Suzuki, he had kept the remains of his wife at his home but began seeing another woman, aged in her 50s. They were planning to live together, and, as he couldn’t take the urn to their new home, he resorted to abandoning it in a locker at centrally located train station. The suspect has admitted to the charges, saying he had been troubled over the urn’s disposal.

Female corpse

Perhaps the most notable discovery inside a locker in recent memory was a female corpse. In May of 2015, the body of a woman, believed to have been aged more than 70, was found inside a suitcase left inside an unlocked coin locker near the Marunouchi Exit.

Although police unveiled drawings of the woman’s face in its call for information, the case has yet to be solved. According to a source close to the investigation, the body had no external injuries and chances were low that she had died as a result of an incident.

“It’s possible that the woman had died but a funeral couldn’t be held due to financial reasons, and there was no choice but to put her in a locker,” an investigator says. “Many train lines converge at Tokyo Station, and it’s also the ‘final stop’ for people who have no other alternatives.”

Source: “Tsuma no ikotsu naze Tokyo-eki no rokkaa ni hochi,” Tokyo Sports (Jan. 14)

Note: Brief extracts from Japanese vernacular media in the public domain that appear here were translated and summarized under the principle of “fair use.” Every effort has been made to ensure accuracy of the translations. However, we are not responsible for the veracity of their contents. The activities of individuals described herein should not be construed as “typical” behavior of Japanese people nor reflect the intention to portray the country in a negative manner. Our sole aim is to provide examples of various types of reading matter enjoyed by Japanese.

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