Dead Body Goes Undiscovered for 20 Years

TOKYO (AP) The decomposed body of a man dressed in pajamas was discovered in an abandoned Tokyo apartment building 20 years after he is believed to have died, police said Thursday.

A Tokyo Metropolitan Police official said construction workers were preparing to tear down the building earlier this month when they found the man's skeletal remains laying face-up on a mattress on the tatami reed mat floor of a second-floor room.

The morning edition of a newspaper dated Feb. 20, 1984 was on a table nearby and a calendar, opened to the same month, hung on the wall, said the official, who refused to be identified.

The official would not say how the man died. Newspaper reports quoted police as saying that there were no signs of struggle, which led investigators to believe he died of an illness.

The man, identified only as former worker of the company that built the apartments, was in his mid-50s when he divorced his wife, left home and moved into the building in the early 1980s, the official said.

Police believe the man had been unable to repay bank loans and had stopped showing up for work, according to the newspaper reports.

But nobody noticed his death because the real estate agency managing the property went out of business after the building was completed in 1973 without ever having found renters, he said. The building had been unoccupied since it was completed.

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