Police in Saitama, Japan reported the arrest of a 71-year-old woman on suspicion of arson… for allegedly setting her adult son’s room on fire.
According to the Sankei Shimbun, Eiko Sasaki set fire to the room of her 50-year-old son at around 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. Her motivation, it would seem, is that he failed to clean up a pile of magazines. The fire went on to destroy the rest of their 50-square meter apartment. Sasaki allegedly confessed to lighting a newspaper and throwing it into her son’s room while he was out.
There are some people who would think that this is an unbelievably sad turn of events. However, when one scratches below the surface and takes a few minutes to ponder the outcome they will realize that the outcomes were not all bad. Aged care services are prohibitively expensive in Japan, a country where wages are low and people treat their elders with great respect. Consequently, it is quite common to find adult children living with and caring for their parents – something that is no doubt stressful for all concerned.
By setting fire to the apartment and confessing to the crime, Sasaki almost certainly guaranteed herself a lengthy custodial sentence. Her son, as a victim of crime, will likely collect the insurance money and have an apartment to himself. Meanwhile, Ms Sasaki will be a guest of the state – which means that she will receive free healthcare, food and accommodation. The downside, obviously, is being in prison; however, as a septuagenarian I would expect her conditions to be comfortable. Japanese prisons are safe, spotlessly clean, and at her age she will be spared the hard labor that younger prisoners are forced to perform – so she gets taken care of in her twilight years and he gets an apartment to himself, all on the government coin. [Japan Today]