Police in Saitama Prefecture admitted Monday that they mixed up two bodies of deceased men and handed over one of them to the wrong family late last month.

The mistake came to light Friday when the relatives and friends of one of the men tried to bid the final farewell at his funeral, shortly before the body was going to be cremated, according to the police.

The family was given the correct body later.

While offering an apology, the police explained that investigators simply mixed up their names and bodies without checking tags attached to the bodies.

One of the two was a man in his 50s and ther other in his 70s. Both lived alone in Tokorozawa and died because of health reasons, the police said, adding neither man was involved in any crime.