A funeral home operator in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, will be offering a drive-thru funeral service that allows mourners to give their final farewells without ever leaving their car.
Kankon Sousai Aichi Group plans to introduce this new funeral home in December, reports Japan Times.
Basically, funeral attendees pull up to a window. There, they sign their name on a touch screen panel and hand over the customary condolence money. There will also be an electronic incense-burning device, writes Japan Times.
The host of the ceremony and other funeral goers will be inside and able to monitor the drive-thru visitors.
The head of the company, Masao Ogiwara, told Japan Times that this new service is aimed primarily at people who have limited mobility, or who might have trouble getting in and out of their car to attend the funeral. Ogiwara said that this service will cut down the time it takes to attend a funeral by one-fourth or one-fifth.
Funerals often take place at noon or in the early afternoon in Japan, which makes it hard for some people who have to go to work, writes Japan Times, so this service could also allow those with jobs an easy way to bid farewell, without having to wear all black or take off part of the day.
According to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the annual number of deaths in Japan is expected to reach 1.43 million in 2020, making funerals a big business in the country. Nagano Prefecture, where the new funeral home will be built, has an older population already. The ratio of those who are over 65, which was at 30 percent in 2015, is expected to grow to 32 percent by 2020, writes Japan Times.
“I’ve been in this business for a while and have seen how burdensome attending funerals can be for old folks in wheelchairs,” said Ogiwara to the Japan Times. “The new service will allow those who would otherwise stay home go out and bid farewell to friends and family.”