Staff employed by a specialist home clearance company pack onto trucks the items they have brought out from an apartment once home to an elderly couple. After her husband died, his wife lived there alone but two months after his mother died, the couple's son hired the cleaning company to clear out the apartment.
'Clean-out' businesses are booming in Japan, aligned to its population of the elderly and childless. 30 percent of the properties that are cleared by professionals involve a so-called 'lonely death'. While 'ghost houses', abandoned by ageing owners, account for a further 20 percent. The industry is also closely linked to the country's growing secondhand market which makes up more than 10 percent of all clothing sales.