Japan's elderly offered funeral discount to stop driving

By News from Elsewhere...
...as found by BBC Monitoring

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Image caption,
Japan has a rapidly ageing population but officials want to see fewer elderly people behind the wheel

Elderly drivers in Japan are being offered discounts on funeral services if they agree to surrender their licences, it's reported.

The Japanese authorities have been trying to encourage older people to give up driving after a recent spate of accidents, some of which involved drivers confusing the accelerator and the brake pedals. The latest incentive is in the central Aichi Prefecture, where a company that runs 89 funeral homes is offering a 15% discount for those who give up their licences, Kyodo news service reports.

Anyone wanting to take advantage of it has to provide evidence that they have handed in their licence at the local police station, which is supporting the initiative. The discount can be extended to family members, including those who live outside the prefecture, the report says.

In 2015, there were almost 4.8 million licence holders over the age of 75, according to The Japan Times, twice as many as a decade earlier. The same period saw an increase in the number of fatal collisions involving elderly drivers.

Similar incentive-based schemes are operating elsewhere in Japan, although most aren't quite so morbid - some involve cheaper taxi rides or cut-price entry to public baths. The funeral home initiative is also quite a contrast to another offer announced in Aichi in November, whereby elderly locals could tuck into cut-price noodles if they surrendered their driving licences.

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