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Requisite corpse: Osaka funeral service cremated wrong bodies


OSAKA (TR) – A funeral services company announced last week that executives will face punishment following revelations that a subsidiary made mistakes in cremating bodies and then hid the blunders, reports the Asahi Shimbun (Mar. 10).

In a notice issued on March 10, San Holdings revealed that its subsidiary Koekisha mistakenly cremated bodies for which relatives could not be immediately found on two occasions in 2015 and the year before, with one case resulting in the remains being delivered to the incorrect family.

To take responsibility for the incidents, four executives, including San Holdings president Kotaro Furuuchi, have accepted salary decreases of 10 percent over a two-month period.

Over any given month, the Stella Office of Koekisha, located in Nishinari Ward, usually handles 50 bodies — though sometimes the figure can be as high as 100 — obtained from police, hospitals and nursing homes that are not identifiable or lack a next of kin.

On July 21 of last year, the office intended to cremate a male body having no relatives that it received from the Kawachinagano Police Station on June 19. However, it mistakenly cremated an unidentified corpse brought in four days before from the same police station and delivered the remains to the Kawachinagano City government office.

An employee at the office realized the mistake three or four days after the cremation took place. However, the blunder was covered up by a supervisor. On September 2, the other corpse was cremated.

According to the Sankei Shimbun (Mar. 10), the mistake regarding the remains was leaked in January to San Holdings, which subsequently launched an internal investigation. The results of the investigation revealed that a similar incident involving two unidentified bodies took place at the Stella Office in 2014.