Space Burials at $1,990 Give Aging Japan Cheaper Funeral Option

Space Burials at $1,990 Give Aging Japan Cheaper Funeral Option

Burial options in Japan are expanding beyond the traditional Buddhist ceremony. You can now send a loved one’s ashes into space. Closely held Elysium Space Inc. is offering a service in Japan to send a portion of a person’s cremated remains in a capsule that will circle the earth for several months for $1,990. Relatives and friends can track the spacecraft’s trajectory on a mobile phone app. Like a meteorite, the remains disintegrate upon entering the earth’s atmosphere, “blazing as a shooting star,” according to a company statement. About one gram of a person’s remains are placed into an individual “space-grade” aluminum capsule, Benjamin Joffe, a spokesman for the company said in an e-mail. Missions will carry between 100 to 400 individual capsules, he said. The service will give a new option for Japanese looking to reduce the size and expense of funerals as relatives become fewer and traditional ties weaken in one of the world’s fastest aging societies. The cost of a renting a burial plot and buying a tomb stone in Tokyo is about 2.7 million yen ($27,400), according to Japan Institute of Life Insurance. The market for funeral services in Japan rose 0.7 percent to 1.3 trillion yen in the year ended March 2010 from a year earlier as the number of aged Japanese increased, according to the marketing and credit research firm Teikoku Databank Ltd. based in Tokyo. Elysium Space began taking U.S. space burial reservations in the U.S. in August. The San Francisco company’s first launch is scheduled for next summer.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kanoko Matsuyama in Tokyo at kmatsuyama2@bloomberg.net

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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