The city of Kyoto in Japan is reportedly planning to sell the precious metals found in cremated bodies from things like denture fillings.
Most Japanese people are cremated after they die and are not buried, and in the Kyoto region of Kansai, there is an old tradition whereby family members only remove some key bone fragments to be taken to family graves, leaving the vast majority of the dead person’s ashes and bone fragments for the crematorium to dispose of.
And the city of Kyoto has just one major crematorium – and it is running out of space.
So the Kyoto Central Funeral Hall decided that it would crush the unincinerated bone fragments on its premises to help make room.
During this process, they reportedly came across numerous precious metal fragments, primarily gold, which came from people’s dentures.
Between April and December last year, they reportedly ‘harvested’ some 7.1 kilogrammes (15.7 lbs) of gold from 39 tonnes of ash obtained from some 13,000 cremations.
They also reportedly recovered 0.2 kilogrammes (0.4 lbs) of platinum, 21.1 kilogrammes (46.5 lbs) of silver, and 6.2 kilogrammes (13.7 lbs) of palladium.
That reportedly adds up to JPY 119 million (GBP 725,850) worth of precious metals, according to local media.
The city reportedly debated whether to proceed with selling these precious metals. They reportedly do not need to ask for the public’s opinion, as under Japanese law, they own the remains and therefore the precious metals too.
But the city is reportedly aware that the move could be perceived as more than a little ‘creepy’, so they are now asking the public for their thoughts.
Most of the people who responded online reportedly agree that it is wasteful to simply bury the precious metals, with the plan now apparently set to go ahead.
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