Retired airline employee Tarou Tanzawa said he hadn't thought much about his own death until his 84-year-old mother was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma and decided against costly and invasive life-prolonging treatment.

He watched his mother die peacefully at a nursing home where she received only palliative care after checking out of the hospital where she was diagnosed.

Soon after, Tanzawa made his own "living will," stipulating he did not want life-prolonging treatment if he became terminally ill or was in a vegetative state.