Society | Feb 01

'Called an Old Hag, Wanted to be Younger': Woman on Trial for Creating Younger Sister

TOKYO, Feb 01 (News On Japan) - A 73-year-old woman faced court for the first time on Wednesday, accused of impersonating a non-existent younger sister -- a fictitious character designed to avoid age-related workplace bullying. The woman stated in her defense, "My name is Chizuru Yoshino. There are no errors in the indictment."

The imaginary sister's name was given as Kiya Iwata, 48 years old, making her 25 years younger than Yoshino. During the investigation, Yoshino insisted, "I am Kiya Iwata. Currently, I am not in contact with my sister due to a quarrel."

The existence of this fictional sister came to light when Yoshino, posing as Iwata, was caught by a police officer while processing a scooter license. This sparked the investigation.

A year earlier, Yoshino, masquerading as her younger sister, had submitted documents to the Tokyo Family Court for a process known as "acquisition of family register," intended for those without a registry.

Yoshino, to the representative handling the procedure, said, "I have a sister without a registry and want to acquire one for her."

Simultaneously, she submitted forged documents to Ota Ward Office and fraudulently obtained a health insurance card in her sister's name.

Ten months after the application, the court allowed the acquisition, creating a registry for the non-existent Kiya Iwata.

For 13 months, Yoshino lived as a 25-year-younger version of herself. At home, she pretended to live with her husband and imaginary sister. The nameplate displayed both 'Yoshino' and the fictitious 'Iwata.'

A neighbor from the adjacent apartment commented, "I thought she worked at a bar or a snack, judging by her outfits. Occasionally, I saw her leave on a bike."

Yoshino, who was 70 at the time of the offense, had been working as a security guard, despite the retirement age being 65 at her workplace.

In her statement, Yoshino expressed, "I was called an old lady. I wanted to be younger."

Her motivation, as pointed out by the prosecution, was to avoid age-related ridicule at work. She believed working as her 48-year-old fictional sister would prevent such taunts.

The case raises questions about the court's decision-making process in approving the acquisition of a family register for a non-existent person. Koga, an attorney dealing with issues of unregistered individuals, explained, "The procedure doesn't confirm facts based on evidence, but rather if a person can narrate a plausible story, the court might feel compelled to accept it."

As of 2020, the Ministry of Justice recognized 3,235 individuals without a registry. In the fiscal year 2022, there were 74 applications for acquisition of a registry. These cases involve various circumstances, including children born abroad or those whose parents failed to file a birth report.

Koga, on the challenges faced by unregistered individuals, stated, "In a state of complete solitude, there are people who can't link their supposed registry with their current life. For such individuals, registering a family registry is essential when seeking welfare or restarting their lives, which is the intended use of the acquisition application."

Source: ANN


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