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Robot priests set to perform funerals

A Japanese company has created a robot priest in the hope of cutting funeral costs.

The SoftBank’s humanoid robot – or ‘Pepper’ as it is called – can perform Buddhist funerals.

Revealed at ‘The Life Ending Industry Expo’ in Tokyo, the robot is about to chant sutras whilst tapping a drum.

“With Japan’s population ageing and shrinking, many Buddhist priests receive less financial support from their communities, prompting some to find part-time work outside their temple duties”, Michio Inamura, Nissei’s executive adviser told Reuters.

“The funeral robot could step in when a priest was not available”, he said. “It also cost less at 50,000 yen (about $450) per funeral compared to more than 240,000 yen ($2,200) for a human priest.”

Nissei Eco hopes to charge around 50,000 Yen (£350) for the use of the funeral robot as a low cost alternative to hiring a priest, the Japan Times reported.

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