Early End-life Plan For Elderly In Aging Japan

Akihito, on Monday who turns 80, is still active, in November with his wife making an official visit to India, the 79-year-old Empress Michiko. But concerns have grown since he had center bypass surgery almost two years back on top of prostate cancer previously. The revelation of the couple’s life-end plans was well received in the world’s fastest-graying nation, where twenty years in one in three people will be senior citizens now. Eroding traditions and changing demographics mean many of them lack younger relatives to look after their affairs or their graves. Setsuko Imamura, this month a previous part-time kimono-dressing instructor who transformed 79. Imamura has been planning for her life’s end for some time.

A calendar year after her spouse died of cancer tumor in 2010 2010, she sold their house in Hamamatsu in central Japan, and relocated to a retirement home in western Tokyo, near her niece. She has sorted out her budget, written a will and selected her favorite kimono for her burial, all kept in a container. She doesn’t want a wedding ceremony.

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2,900) per participant. That way her remains wouldn’t be left behind, and removed as waste materials. And someone, living members of the group or their relatives, would go to the tomb and place flowers. Imamura represents a growing section of Japan’s growing elderly population, particularly women who often outlive their husbands and are likely to die only with nobody to arrange their funeral or settle their affairs.

A 2011 national study by Ibaraki Christian University sociology teacher Kenji Mori demonstrated that no more than 60 percent of Japanese experienced a gravesite with relatives to look after it. The majority considered funeral ceremonies an responsibility, and about 40 percent concerned the agreements would cause trouble for family members and neighbours.

More and more Japanese in their 60s and 70s are organizing for his or her own deaths, exactly like Akihito and Michiko. Many in Mori’s survey said funeral ceremonies should reflect the wishes of the dead, a new way of thinking encouraged by companies in the now-booming “end-of-life” business. Funerals used to be send-off rituals conducted by neighbors or groups of the inactive, but now the rituals are influenced by business incentives and also have lost their traditional meaning, Mori said.

Books on how to write “ending records” have grown to be best-sellers and “ending activity” workshops abound, organized by funeral homes, tombstone stores and supermarket chains even, like Aeon Co. Cemetery trips are also available. Kazuhiro Yoshida, a spokesman for Aeon’s funeral-related services. The 2008 Oscar-winning film “Departures,” about a man who prepares body for funerals, motivated many Japanese to think and talk more about this issue openly. Nichiryoku and others also provide an after-death house-cleaning service for individuals who die on their own. Masahiko Muraki, an executive of Nichiryoku, said he desires the necessity for the service would develop in arriving years.