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Japan automaker develops hearse doubling as memorial venue for scaled down services

The interior of the new hearse that can also double as a place to hold a memorial service is seen in this image provided by Mitsuoka Motor Co.
The exterior of the new multipurpose hearse is seen in this image provided by Mitsuoka Motor Co.

TOYAMA -- Due to the effects of the new coronavirus pandemic, the large-scale wakes and funerals we've been accustomed to have become harder to hold. In the midst of this, Mitsuoka Motor Co., an automaker based in this central Japan city, has from Nov. 24 begun selling a new style of hearse with an interior that can be used to hold simple services.

    Opening the back door of the car, the name for which roughly translates to "Granace Evolution," reveals a place for floral decorations around where the coffin is kept, as well as a small altar with space for a photograph of the deceased and candles.

    The altar-equipped vehicle can go around to residences or care homes in the event that users cannot line up at services due to a desire to avoid the infection-conducive "three Cs" of confined spaces, crowded places and close contact settings, or because they are older. The company says that this way of bidding goodbye to the departed represents a response to the current "new way of life."

    The vehicle is on display at the Japan Funeral and Cemetery Show, an annual trade show, at the capital's Tokyo Big Sight until Nov. 26. One of the vehicles costs 7.92 million yen (about $75,900). For enquiries, call Mitsuoka Motor Co. on 0120-49-3360, between 10:00 a.m. and 6 p.m.

    (Japanese original by Ikuko Aoyama, Toyama Bureau)

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