Small Funerals Growing in Japan amid Virus Outbreak

Society Lifestyle Politics

Tokyo, April 6 (Jiji Press)--A growing mood of voluntary restraint in Japan amid the new coronavirus outbreak is affecting people's last farewells to loved ones, as indicated in the increasing number of small family funerals.

People are avoiding gatherings at enclosed places and close contacts with others, after a group infection was found among participants at a funeral in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, western Japan.

The number of private funerals with few attendees started increasing in March, according to funeral company Koekisha Co., which conducts more than 11,000 funerals a year in the Kansai western Japan region and the Tokyo metropolitan area. Many dinner parties usually held after wakes have been canceled, said the company, based in the western city of Osaka.

At funeral halls, measures to prevent infections have been taken, such as securing larger-than-usual distances between chairs and placing a sanitizer at the entrance.

A funeral operator's job is to "protect the dignity of the deceased and offer support for the bereaved," a Koekisha worker said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press