Even More Old People Missing in Japan

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An unidentified elderly Japanese woman -- Image by © Andy Rain/epa/Corbis

It’s worse than we thought. 

Just over a month ago, NewsFeed reported that Japan wasn’t actually sure if its oldest living citizens were still living. After discovering that two of the oldest of the old were long-passed, government officials decided to do some digging and back up their records with proof. The result? More than 230, 000 centenarians are unaccounted for.

Just how did this happen? Well, the BBC reports that Japan’s “Justice Ministry said some of those unaccounted for may have died as long ago as World War II, possibly during the post-war turmoil. Others may have emigrated without reporting their status to local authorities, or relatives simply did not report the deaths.”

As Japan has one of the world’s fastest aging societies–one in five people are over the age of 65–here’s hoping that they’ll now start keeping closer tabs on their elderly.

See TIME’s portraits of (not missing) centenarians.

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