If it takes sifting bits of gold and other precious metals from cremated ashes to boost an economy, you just know things are going badly. Several Japanese cities are profiting from the sale of precious metals found in cremated ashes, and it has turned out incredible profits. So when should we start digging?
The Guardian: The Tokyo metropolitan government made 3.2m yen (£24,700) in 2007 from the sale of 700g (1.5lb) of gold, 500g of palladium and 1.9kg of silver retrieved from cremated remains.
The city earned 90,000 yen from coins placed in coffins before cremation, the report said.
One of Japan’s biggest crematoriums, in the central city of Nagoya, collected 12kg of metals worth more than 10m yen.
This isn’t the first time people have looked for wealth among the dead, but apparently in Japan its legal! So grab your shovels!
While the practice has ugly historical precedents – the Nazis routinely searched for gold in the ashes of murdered concentration camp prisoners – the Japanese authorities have the law on their side.
In 1939, the supreme court ruled that any leftover ashes not taken away by bereaved relatives belonged to the municipality; any income they generate is considered part of the city’s miscellaneous income.
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