Japanese Town Offers Funeral Discount in Exchange for Driver’s License

Category: Human Interest


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. certificate / sərˈtɪf ɪ kɪt / (n) – a document used as proof of something

    He was given a certificate for attending the conference.

  2. extend / ɪkˈstɛnd / (v) – to offer

    The company extended its services to three new cities.

  3. incentive / ɪnˈsɛn tɪv / (n) – a reward

    The company offers many incentives to hardworking employees.

  4. senile / ˈsi naɪl / (adj) – showing a decline in physical or mental abilities due to old age

    Even at age 70, her grandfather showed no signs of being senile.

  5. revoke / rɪˈvoʊk / (v) – to take back

    She is still in the team because they revoked their decision to remove her.


Read the text below.

A police department in Japan partnered with a funeral home to offer discounts to elderly people who will give up their driver’s licenses.

The program, initiated by the Ichinomiya police department, aims to discourage the elderly from driving. Statistics from Aichi prefecture revealed that last year, over 13% of fatal traffic accidents involved drivers aged 75 or older. Other statistics showed that in 2015, almost 4.8 million of licensed drivers in Japan are over the age of 75. Additionally, the data also revealed that since 2005, there has been an increase in the number of serious car accidents that involved elderly drivers.

With the police department’s new program, elderly people who will turn in their licenses will receive a 15% funeral discount. They will then be given a certificate that would serve as proof of the exchange. The discount can save families a huge amount of money because funerals in Japan can cost about 1.5 million yen. The discount can also be extended to relatives, even those who live outside Aichi.

Before Aichi’s initiative, other programs with the same purpose have also been established in other prefectures. These programs offer different incentives to the elderly such as cheaper taxi rides, lower entry rates to public baths, and restaurant discounts.

There have also been initiatives to make it more difficult for elderly people to keep their licenses. For instance, drivers beyond the age of 75 must take a mental function test when renewing their licenses. Those who fail the test must provide certification from medical professionals that they are not senile. Otherwise, their licenses will be revoked.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• Aside from those mentioned in the article, what other incentives can be offered to the elderly in exchange for their licenses?
• Do you agree that the elderly should no longer be driving? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• What possible difficulties can the elderly face when driving?
• What are possible reasons why the elderly still want to drive?