Lack of burial space is changing age-old funeral practices, and in Japan ‘tree burials’ are gaining in popularity

As the global population continues to grow, space for putting the dead to rest is at a premium. In the United States, some of the biggest cities are already short on burial land, and so are many other countries around the world.

At the same time, many nations are transforming funerary rituals, changing the way cemeteries operate and even destroying historic cemeteries to reclaim the land for the living.

In Singapore, for example, the government has forcibly demolished family tombs in favor of columbariums, structures that can hold the urns of those who have been cremated. Grave spaces in the city-state can be used only for a term of 15 years, after which the remains are cremated and the space is used for another burial.

Still in Asia, In Hong Kong, gravesites are among the most expensive real estate per square foot and the government has enlisted pop stars and other celebrities to promote cremation over physical burial.

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