Just how big is the funeral industry in Japan, the world's fastest aging nation? Consider a successful new venture near Tokyo called the Liss Center. It's a "business hotel for the dead," its proprietor tells ABC News. Families check in their dearly departed for $88 a night to give them more time to arrange a proper funeral, a service that averages $24,000.
The record rise in annual deaths has resulted in a hugely profitable network of funeral-related businesses, often fueled by kickbacks as the companies refer business to one another. As for the Liss Center: "I was inspired to build this hotel about 14 years ago," says the Buddhist monk who opened it. "I wanted to create a space where the deceased could come to rest, without any pressure from funeral companies." (Read more funeral stories.)