September 17, 2010 10:18
Cremation is rapidly replacing burial as the standard funeral method. The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on Thursday that the cremation rate reached 65 percent last year, more than double the 30.3 percent in 1999.
Busan, Incheon and Ulsan had the highest rates of cremation with 82.5, 79.4, and 73.8 percent, respectively. But four provinces -- North and South Chungcheong, South Jeolla, and Jeju -- had rates of less than 50 percent.
The number of cremation cases in 2009 totaled 257,000, up 27 percent from 202,000 in 2008. Among last year's cases, 161,000 were for deceased people, and 8,000 for foetuses. Some 87,000 took place as burial sites of the deceased were moved, more than doubling from 41,000 in 2008 and indicating a growing preference for the method among the families in need of relocating their ancestors' graves.
A ministry official said, "We plan to increase the number of incinerators from the current 265 in 51 cremation facilities nationwide to 316 in 55 sites by the end of next year."
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