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Shinjuku Ward staffer suspected of stealing from unidentifiable corpses

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Metropolitan Police are investigating a staff member at the Shinjuku Ward office who is suspected of taking valuables from unidentifiable corpses, reports the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 27).

According to the Shinjuku Police Station, the male staff member, aged in his 40s, is believed to have stolen cash, bank cards and bank books. He is under investigation on suspicion of embezzlement.

The staff member is in charge of cremating unidentifiable corpses and handling the remains, police said.

During an interview with the ward, the staff member said, “I took [the items] home because to keep them [at the office] gets complicated.”

The matter emerged last December when another staff member came forward.

Persons whose bodies cannot be identified are euphemistically referred to as “deceased travelers.” In such cases, local governments are tasked with eventually cremating the bodies.