Train station in Tokyo, Japan, at peak. Photo: AFP.

Arrested for leaving ashes of his father’s remains at the train station


JapanHiroaki Hishijima was arrested by police in Tokyo on January 17 after deliberately leaving his ashes in a toilet at a subway station.

Tokyo police today confirmed Hishijima had deliberately left his father’s ashes at the male toilet of Tokyo Station on the Marunouchi Line. Hishijima’s parents were divorced long ago and his father died in September last year.

Father Hishijima’s body was cremated in Shinjuku, Tokyo, and he came to receive the ashes in November for a funeral. However, Hishijima feared that his mother would be angry if she brought home her ashes, so she decided to leave the train station.

In Japan, the act of abandoning public remains will be fined or imprisoned up to three years. What to do with the remains of a loved one remains a painful problem for many Japanese, amid an aging population and increasing cemetery land prices.

Train station in Tokyo, Japan, at peak. Image: AFP.

The number of deaths in Japan reached a record high of 1,376 million in 2019, of which 512,000 died due to old age, the highest ever. Public cemeteries become overloaded, while private cemeteries cost as little as US $ 4,000 for a burial plot, depending on the location and type of tombstone.

“A plot of land in the Kamakura cemetery costs the equivalent of a luxury car,” said funeral director Yusuke Wada.

Traditionally, Japanese cremated ashes were stored in jars and buried in family burial grounds. Relatives will pay for graveyard care and can visit often.

However, when needs and lifestyles change, burial also makes a lot of difference. Wada said the more popular method now is to rent a boat and spread the ashes of his loved ones to the sea.

Ngoc Anh (Follow CNN)

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