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Coronavirus threat sends Japanese mourning into digital mode

Funeral operators utilize Zoom, Line and Facebook to reduce contact at services

Nishida funeral, Nagoya-based funeral company has started this month offering ceremony over zoom, videoconferencing tool. Zoom funeral allows at most 1,000 people to attend the live ceremony at the same time. (Photo courtesy of Nishida funeral)

TOKYO -- Japan's funeral businesses are adopting digital tools in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic and the social distancing demanded to rein in its spread.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called on citizens and residents to limit the size of gatherings to decrease new infections after recent jumps in confirmed cases spurred him to declare a state of emergency in Tokyo and some other parts of the country. The call is also affecting attendance at funerals as people increasingly stay away.

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