to avoid dying alone, an NGO offers burial clubs

With life expectancy rising, more and more Japanese are having to face the idea of ​​dying alone. An NGO offers to bring together these isolated people so that they can prepare their funerals together.



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After 50 years of demographic crisis, in Japan, more and more people are dying alone.  Illustrative photo.  (RUNSTUDIO / MOMENT RF / GETTY IMAGES)

In Japan, there are millions of very elderly widows and widowers without close family. An NGO aims to reunite these isolated people. This NGO now has branches in Tokyo, but also in Osaka, the second largest city in the country. It is called in English the “ending center”, in a way the center to end it all. IIt’s not at all about assisted suicide, the idea is to help people prepare for their funeral.

It was a sociology professor, Haruyo Inoue, who launched this project after having herself had to deal with the death of her mother alone. She realized at the time that thousands of Japanese people no longer had anyone to manage their own funerals. It is the result of 50 years of demographic crisis. There is a collapse in marriages and births in the country. And now 40% of tax households are made up of only one person. It’s very distressing for these people and the NGO offers them lots of activities to better prepare themselves.

These centers offer plenty of activities to create links between all these isolated people who no longer have loved ones with whom to talk or discuss these complicated subjects. So these elderly people get together for cooking or knitting days. They go for walks together. There are even sessions where you can try on coffins, vYou sleep in it to better understand how everything is going to happen.

Also a financial issue for the country

And the NGO also offers a complete service which will manage all of your funerals. This involves taking care of your body, all administrative procedures, the transfer of your home or even the possible adoption of your pet. And if you don’t have family, members of the NGO will be there on the day of your cremation and burial. The NGO also manages a special cemetery just outside Tokyo, in Machida, where you are buried under very beautiful sakuras, Japanese cherry trees.

The authorities see the proliferation of this type of service in a very good light, because single deaths are becoming a big social problem in Japan. And it is also a financial issue for small municipalities which have to manage these deaths and funerals, which is very expensive. There are now cupboards in many town halls where the urns of people who have died without any relatives are stored. We keep them there in the hope that a police investigation will perhaps lead to finding a distant cousin who can cover all these costs.

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