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2008年11月29日 (土)

発信箱:老いて負う罪

(Mainichi Japan) November 29, 2008

Elderly turn to crime as a means to find shelter

発信箱:老いて負う罪=磯崎由美(生活報道センター)


This July, after gazing at the currents of the Sumida River and feeding the pigeons, a silver-haired woman climbed up to the roof of a building. She had come from Nara to Tokyo, a land where she knew no one, to die. But it was not easy for her to end her life of 79 years.

 隅田川の流れを眺めハトに餌をやると、白髪の女はビルの屋上に上った。今年7月。知る人のない土地で死のうと奈良から東京に来たが、79年生きても自ら命を絶つのは難しかった。

Her parents divorced when she was very young and she has no relatives, according to her lawyer. In the chaotic aftermath of the war, she survived by selling her body to American soldiers, and then worked as a maid, living frugally by herself. But as she grew older she could no longer find work. Her pension is barely more than 30,000 yen per month, so she fell behind on her rent and utility bills.

 弁護士によれば、女は小さいころ両親が離婚して身寄りがない。戦後の混乱期は米兵に体を売って生き抜き、家政婦として働きながら一人つましく暮らした。だが年とともに仕事はなくなり、年金は月3万円余り。家賃も公共料金も滞納した。

She came to Tokyo but could not kill herself. As her money ran out, she hit upon the idea of seeking shelter in a police detention cell. She went shoplifting, and then turned herself in to police, who treated her cordially. She was moved into a welfare facility but got into a quarrel with other residents over noise. She then camped out in a garage attached to someone's house, but the people who lived there chased her away.

 上京したものの死にきれず、所持金も底をつき、留置場に泊めてもらおうと思いつく。万引きして自首すると、警官は親身にしてくれた。施設に入ったが、他の入居者と物音で言い争いになった。民家の車庫で野宿し、住民に追い払われた。

One night, she bought a fruit knife and headed to Shibuya. "I wanted to sleep under a roof. In order to be given shelter by police, I needed to do something drastic," she told her lawyer. The streets were bustling with young people. During the war, her generation was mobilized to serve in women's volunteer corps. When she saw a young woman who seemed to be happily waiting for her friends, she slashed her with the knife. Even after her victim let out a scream, she continued to wander the streets with knife in hand.

 その夜、女は果物ナイフを買い渋谷へ向かう。「屋根の下で寝たい。警察に泊めてもらうには、もっと大きなことをせなあかん」。若者でにぎわう繁華街。自分は女子挺身(ていしん)隊に召集されていた年ごろだ。友達を待つ若い女性が楽しそうに見え、切りつけた。悲鳴が響いた後も、刃物を手に街をさまよった。

On Nov. 19, the elderly woman, who has been charged with assault and other crimes, shuffled, seemingly to nurse her bent back, into the trial chamber of the Tokyo District Court, and mumbled, as if talking to herself, "I am afraid of myself. If I had died earlier, I would not have brought this trouble onto all of you." Her lawyer was at a loss for an answer when the defendant asked where she should go if she is still alive when the time comes for her to be let out of prison.

 今月19日、東京地裁。傷害罪などに問われた女は曲がった腰をかばうようにすり足で法廷に現れ、独りごとのように言った。「自分が恐ろしうて。早く死んでおれば皆さんにご迷惑もかけなかった」。接見で弁護士は「命あって出所したら、どこに行けばいいのでしょう」と聞かれ、返事に窮したという。

Crimes by the elderly are increasing at a rate that outpaces the aging of the population. As life expectancies grow longer, it is becoming harder and harder to rejoice in the prosperity that Japan had sought and then achieved. The court will deliver a verdict in her case in December, when she will turn 80. (By Yumi Isozaki, Mainichi Shimbun)

 高齢化率を上回る勢いで増える高齢者犯罪。豊かさを追い求め手にした長寿の時代を、素直に喜べなくなってしまった。

 女が傘寿を迎える12月、判決が言い渡される。

毎日新聞 20081126日 005

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