TOKYO (TR) – Last month, elderly woman and her daughter took their lives by leaping in front of an express train in Machida City.
Such cases are unfortunately not infrequent. Though the backstories usually go untold, that is not the case this time.
Weekly tabloid Shukan Shincho (Dec. 17) looks into the lives of the women and unearths a tale of debt and poverty.
The woman, 87, and her daughter 52, lived together in a first-floor apartment in a building in Zama City, Kanagawa Prefecture located about a 15-minute walk from Odakyu Sagamihara Station.
“They moved in about 6 years ago,” the tenant of another unit says. “Neither of them seemed to work.”
The tenant goes on to say that the daughter could be seen regularly drinking beer outside in the mornings. “There’s a pachinko parlor near the station that she’d regularly visit,” the source continues.
The same tenant says that the pair lived off a pension while also borrowing money from the other occupants.
The daughter’s borrowing tactics bordered on fraud.
In October, she claimed to be expecting to receive an inheritance of 400 million yen. However, she needed some small amounts to cover various administrative costs. “It turned out to be a lie,” says the tenant, who lent her and her mother a total of 102,000 yen.
Another tenant said the other tenants had recently pressured the pair in seeking the return of lent funds.
It all must have been too much.
“It took several days to confirm their identities”
On the night of November 28, they both arrived at Tamagawagakuen-ｍae Station, which serves the Odakyu Odawara Line.
The station is about a 15-minute ride from Odakyu Sagamihara Station. It is not outfitted with safety barricades on the platform, which has made it known as a “suicide spot,” a local reporter tells Shincho.
Security camera footage showed what happened next. About one hour after they arrived, at around 11:10 p.m., the pair lined up on the platform and jumped in front of the oncoming Romancecar express train.
The Machida Police Station later said that both women were confirmed dead at the scene. “The corpses were severely damaged,” an investigative source tells the weekly. “It took several days to confirm their identities.”