The demand for funerals is expected to increase. The number of deaths in Japan is currently increasing at an annual rate of 1% and this growth rate is forecast to fall below 1% beginning in 2027 as annual deaths continue climbing to a peak of 1,679,000 in 2040.
Number of Deaths in Japan (Actual number through 2017)
Source: Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications “Population Estimates” (2017)
Average Life Expectancy
Senior population ratio (age 65+)
New funeral and memorial service formats are emerging as the number of children declines and of seniors climbs, the size of households declines and other changes occur in Japan’s population.
Examples of funeral formats: Non-religious funerals, one-day funerals
Examples of memorial service formats: Home or other simple services, trees instead of grave stones, ash scattering
About 80% of the people of Japan are familiar with the word “Shukatsu,” which means preparing for one’s death.
(*Rakuten Insight, Inc.)
The use of smartphone and tablets by people over the age 65 is increasing.
Utilization of the internet by seniors to acquire information and make decisions about funerals and associated services is expected to rise. However, caution is needed because some websites distribute erroneous information.
There is an increasing number of funeral marketing service companies in Japan that use the internet to supply information about funeral companies but do not hold funerals on their own.
After reaching a peak between 2002 and 2004, the number of new funeral halls in Japan was at the 300 level in 2005, the 200 level in 2014 and has remained below 200 in the following years.
Despite this decline, many funeral halls have opened in recent years in Kanagawa and Osaka prefectures.