Japan fact of the day

…99.9% of Japanese who passed away in fiscal 2009 were cremated, according to the country’s health ministry.

This may not be possible for some of the recent victims of the tsunami, due to lack of kerosene (for burning) and dry ice (for preservation).  The story is here.

Comments

This is a meta question about MR:
Does anyone know why this post is "Japan fact of the day" and not "The culture that is Japan" ? It looks more like a "The Culture that is X" kind of post. ;)

What about electric crematoriums? Those seem the norm in India these days. Quick and clean although I am not sure how the rate versus kerosene for energy efficiency. Question is whether electricity is a little more easily available than kerosene in Japan currently? 7 bodies a day with kerosene sure sounds slow. The electric ones I have seen in India (probably ancient models) are doing about 50 bodies a day or so.

India seems to share the ritual aspect with Japan. Two decades ago almost all cremations were on wood funeral pyres. That's the way things had been for centuries. But then pressures of urban living (pollution concerns, time, cost, and firewood scarcity) slowly persuaded people to move from wood to electric. And today electric cremation is the norm (in cities only, of course).

What is scary is this sentiment:

"Field manuals produced by the World Health Organization and other groups in recent years have strongly urged relief workers to avoid rapid disposal of bodies, which can create legal complications for families if they aren't able to identify the remains."

So, legal concerns outweigh epidemic hazards?

If you read the article, it suggests the danger of disease is overstated.

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