And now, the drive-thru funeral

Central Station | 14 Sep 2017

A Japanese funeral parlor is set to offer relatives the chance to pay their final respects without leaving the comfort of their cars.

The firm claims that the "drive-thru" service, to be launched in December, is a first in Japan, where a rapidly ageing population means funerals are anything but a dying trade.

Elderly mourners can register their names on a tablet and make a traditional offering of incense just by rolling down a car window - a process relayed to screens inside the venue.

The initiative aims to give infirm relatives the chance to participate, said the firm's president Masao Ogiwara.

"The elderly may hesitate to attend a funeral because they have to ask for help to get out of the car," he said. It usually takes at least 15 minutes for someone in a wheelchair to offer incense at the altar during a traditional Japanese funeral ceremony.

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