In the realm of human life, Japan reports a huge number of people [40,000?] in Japan over the age of 100 or so years. In reality, most are mummies lying in the back rooms of their houses, and still drawing social security benefits for their relatives. This business was highlighted in a recent blog about the Nelson case, now pending at the US Supreme Court, wherein the UofChicago blogger brought up the Sogen Kato case in Japan:
Approximately thirty years ago, Sogen Kato became involved in an argument with his relatives, and then retreated into his bedroom to sleep. He never came out. Evidently none of the family members who shared his apartment went in to disturb him. This past July, after Kato ostensibly became Tokyo's oldest living man, Japanese government officials sought to contact him to congratulate him on his longevity. After being given the run-around by his nervous relatives as to his availability, government officials eventually showed up at Kato's apartment and discovered his mummified remains in the bedroom. His reprehensible relatives, who collected more than $100,000 in pension benefits in Kato's name during his "lifetime," are in very hot water.
**Of NASA v. Nelson, employerlawreport notes:
The Supreme Court will address the question whether NASA violated the plaintiffs’ constitutional right to informational privacy by (1) requiring the contract employee to answer whether he or she had received counseling or treatment for illegal drug use in the prior year and/or (2) asking the contract employees’ designated references for any adverse information bearing on their suitability to work at a federal facility.
Maybe the Japanese government needs rights to investigate the status of alleged 100 year olds. Maybe the USPTO needs more horsepower as to prior art, too.