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Wednesday, 3rd September 2008
In General Japan News,

Viability of Buddhist temples 'in doubt'

Concerns are growing in Japan about the future of the country's traditional Buddhist temples.

Small temples throughout Japan are increasingly being seen as no longer economically viable, reports the BBC.

Kazuma Hayashi, a monk based in Tokyo, offers people "bargain basement Buddhism" consisting of rock-bottom prices for funeral services or prayer chanting.

Mr Hayashi commented: "I don't try to steal clients from traditional temples I just want to show people who in the past have had to pay huge amounts of money for funerals or memorials that there is another option."

A separate report by the Times newspaper recently claimed that climate change could be putting Japan's Zen gardens at risk, with many temples reporting "rapid erosion" of the delicate moss that form essential parts of them.

Josho Toga, head priest of the Tenryu-ji temple, commented: "For moss to survive, it needs soft rain, morning dew and sun. But the weather these days is like that of a subtropical region."