¥2.1 Bil. Left by Deceased with no Relatives in Japan

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, In Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, 2021.

Money held by municipal governments across Japan after being left behind by people who died with no known relatives amounted to about ¥2.15 billion as of the end of October 2021, a survey by the Administrative Evaluation Bureau of the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has revealed.

According to the survey, about 106,000 people died without heirs from April 2018 to October 2021, and the amount of money now held by local governments after being left behind by such people grew by about 60% in that time.

The number of people dying without relatives is expected to continue to increase due to the declining birthrate and aging population, putting a heavy burden on local governments regarding administrative procedures such as searching for heirs.

The internal affairs ministry recommended that both the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and the Justice Ministry make local governments aware that they can withdraw money from the accounts of such people and use it to cover their funeral expenses.