- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Talk about a send-off. With burial costs averaging almost $30,000, Japan’s budget-conscious and cash-strapped are turning to space as a funeral option for their loved ones.

For the comparatively low-cost of $1,990, bereaved families can send their cremated deceased to circle the earth in a capsule aboard a space craft for several months. Bloomberg reported they can follow the craft’s journey via a mobile telephone app. And just like a meteorite, their loved ones’ remains would disintegrate in fire during the return journey through the earth’s atmosphere — “blazing as a shooting star,” the company that hosts the ceremony promised.

Moreover, the family members are provided a “space-grade” aluminum capsule that contains a tiny gram of their loved one’s remains as a keepsake, said Benjamin Joffe, a company spokesman.

The space craft will carry up to 400 capsules of cremated remains per trip — keeping the cost low for Japanese families struggling with funeral costs, Bloomberg reported.

Japan is one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, with a large elderly segment. Japan Institute of Life Insurance says it costs on average $27,400 to rent a burial plot and purchase a tomb stone.