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Smell of decaying corpse concealed by rotting garbage in Osaka residence

Josei Seven Oct. 19
Josei Seven Oct. 19

Last month, Osaka Prefectural Police twice arrested Itsuko Yamaguchi, 65, in the death of her sister at Yamaguchi’s residence in an apartment building in Kadoma City over two years ago.

According to a previous report, officers from the Kadama Police Station entered the residence, located in the Asahicho area, and found the heavily decayed body of Keiko Doi, 61, inside a storage box amid a slew of garbage at around 11:00 a.m. on September 1.

Considering the way Josei Seven (Oct. 19) tells it, the use of the word “slew” might be the understatement of the year as the residence was packed with rubbish as countless cockroaches scurried about.

“There were plenty of days when you’d see the cockroaches,” a resident tells the magazine. “A lot of small and big ones would crawl over one another to the point where everything went black.”

Cause of death unknown

Doi, who lived next door, suffered from a mental disorder. Yamaguchi served as her nurse. The results of an autopsy revealed that Doi died between two and three years ago. However, due to the decay of the body, the cause of death remains unknown.

The day before the discovery, Yamaguchi visited the police station to report that she had not seen her sibling in more than two years while filing a missing persons claim.

After conveying some vague information, Yamaguchi then divulged that there was a corpse in the residence. The suspect later admitted to covering the crime by telling employees from a local government office that her sister was staying at the family’s residence.

Yamaguchi was first arrested on suspicion of abandoning a corpse. Police later applied charges of assault after it was learned that Yamaguchi beat her sister repeatedly in the face in 2009, as reported by the Sankei Shimbun (Sept. 21).

Distinct smell

According to Josei Seven, bodies left abandoned in residences are discovered due to a distinct smell that eventually begins to envelop the premises. That was not the case this time.

“Garbage was piled from the floor to the ceiling in the two-room apartment,” a local news reporter says. “Yamaguchi existed in a small sliver of space. It took police 20 days to haul out all of the garbage. So the smell of the corpse that initially existed was covered up by the rotting garbage.”

With house flies and cockroaches lingering around, residents in other units came and went rapidly.

“I knew that the cause of the offensive odor was mostly due to that unit, but I did not anticipate that there was a corpse inside,” says a male dweller living upstairs.

Josei Seven says that the existence of so-called “garbage houses” is a problem that has recently spread nationwide. This case is a prime example.

“Dozens of cockroaches crawled all over the balcony since bags of garbage were dumped there,” continues the upstairs neighbor. “Insecticide, a broom and dustpan would temporarily alleviate the situation, but, sure enough they’d come right back again.”