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Japan's Buddhist temples struggle as pandemic drags on

Falling offerings and fraying social bonds have some considering closure

OSAKA -- The new coronavirus has people everywhere avoiding crowded spaces, and in Japan that includes temples. The number of services for the traditional Buddhist holidays of Bon and Higan has fallen, putting some temples under financial strain.

Temples were already facing a falling number of parishioners because of Japan's shrinking population, and the pandemic has exacerbated the issue. "If the situation continues, it could lead some temples to close," said one expert. "Each denomination should consider some kind of organizational support."

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