Yahoo Japan is helping a person to prepare for the inevitable that comes to all human beings. Well, digitally anyway. The firm is offering “Yahoo Ending,” a service, which amongst other things, allows account holders from Japan to send e-mails to loved ones after they have died.
Megumi Nakashima, a spokeswoman for the company said, “Yahoo Japan’s job has been to solve social problems through the power of the Internet and to provide services from the cradle to the grave…We had services for the cradle part but not the grave part.” The new ‘Ending service’ is being portrayed as a means to address the problems that are encountered by families around the globe, who don’t have the passwords or legal authority that is necessary to shut down the online accounts of relatives who have died.
End-of-life preparation is also known as “shukatsu”. The basic service that Yahoo offers will deactivate the Yahoo user account after the person has died. The account holder can also opt to have their documents, photos and videos deleted from their ‘Yahoo Box’ online storage accounts and their subscription services linked to Yahoo Wallet cancelled as well.
Yahoo will send an e-mail the user has previously prepared, to as many as 200 addresses and open a “memorial space” bulletin board where people can leave online condolence messages. The service costs $1.80 a month.
Yahoo Japan’s Web site shows an animated video, which asks, “If today was the last day of your life, would you be ready for the journey?” The Yahoo Ending site includes a video, which shows how the service will work; a family is sitting in a living room when all of their phones beep. It then shows the sort of message a family may receive: “If you’re reading this now it means I’ve already left this world. . . . I promised that I would never die before you, my wife, so I’m sorry. I had a really happy life thanks to you.” In the video the son says, “It’s so much like Dad, who thought so much about us,” “We have to fulfil this because it’s his last wish. Mom, don’t worry about a thing leave it all to us.”
When the user registers for the service, they receive a booking number to share with a trusted individual. When they die, that person then calls a Yahoo Ending service number and gives them the booking number. Once this happens the deceased’s funeral preferences are then shared. The funeral home will send the cremation permit to Yahoo to trigger the e-mail cast and the file deletion.
In conjunction with a funeral services firm called Kamakura Shinsho, Yahoo offers advice on how to write a will, plan a funeral and locate a grave. The basic package that is offered through Yahoo Japan will cost approximately $4,500, including the funeral, embalming and cremation and a wake for 30 people.
What do you think? Is this a service that could catch on in the US or Eurpoe? As always, if you would like to leave a sensible comment, then please do so in the comments section below.
[Image via nydailynews]