”I just figured that’s how things were done.”

In Japan, cremation after death, for both people and pets, is the norm. The country also burns a lot of its garbage.

These are supposed to happen at different places, but it turns out that workers at one crematorium apparently figured “Eh burning is burning.”

Owari Hokubu Seien is a crematorium and funeral hall in the town of Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture. Recently, someone noticed that one of its cremation workers had made a social media post saying:

“When we cremate animals, we burn the trash from our convenience store bento boxed lunches with them.”

Owari Hokubu Seien cremation workers are subcontractors from Gorin, a cremation services firm based in Toyama Prefecture. After the social media post came to light, it was confirmed that in addition to bento boxes, multiple members of the facility’s six-person cremation staff (which is made up of six men and women in their 20s-60s) would also toss in empty plastic drink bottles when cremating pets. This has been going on for at least 10 years, the investigation found, with the on-site manager saying “The cremation staff did it on a daily basis, so I just figured that’s how things were done.”

▼ It might seem like a minor transgression compared to desecrating the pets’ remains, but it should also be pointed out that in Japan plastic bottles and bento boxes aren’t classified as burnable garbage, and are instead supposed to be put out on separate recyclable pickup days.

Needless to say, this isn’t the respectful treatment of the remains of their animal companions, especially since after cremation ashes are customarily interred in graves in Japan. Owari Hokubu Seien has issued an apology, but reactions on Twitter show that many people are still appalled at the callous handling of the deceased pets.

“What kind of person would do something like that?”
“Do they have no sense of humanity?”
“It’s not the sort of thing you could do if you have a heart.”
“It’s shocking and exhausting to know that people like that exist.”
“Was it only pet cremations they did this for?”

That unsettling last comment is likely in regards to the facts that Owari Hokubu Seien offers cremation service not just for pets, but for people too, as well as that Gorin is contracted to perform cremations at a number of facilities across Japan. At the moment, though, there haven’t been any confirmed instances of trash being tossed in during human cremations, though even with those there are some practices not everyone entirely agrees with.

Sources: Mainichi Shimbun via Hachima Kiko, Asahi Shimbun, MSN Japan, Twitter
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert images: Pakutaso
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