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Home > Media Reviews > News Review Last Updated: 13:24 07/12/2007
News Review #403: July 12, 2007

Japan Has Highest Ratio of Elderly, Government Says

Reviewed by Takahiro MIYAO

Japan Has Highest Ratio of Elderly, Government Says
International Herald Tribune (7/11/2007)


One out of five Japanese is age 65 or older now, according to a Japanese government report. As of 2005, Japan's elderly ratio, 20.1 percent, is higher than any other major industrialized country, surpassing such old European nations as Italy (19.7 percent) and Germany (18.8 percent), and way above the U.S. (12.3 percent). Back in 2000, Japan was second, next to Italy, but has been rapidly aging to become the world's "eldest nation," a fact that is quite troubling from the viewpoint of policy makers in almost every field, from education and industry to health and social insurance.

At the same time, however, we should not forget that this is a result of the longevity of Japanese elderly, who have the highest life expectancy in the world. This means that Japanese 65 years old may be generally healthier and physically younger that their counterparts in any other major countries. Given this, it is natural to see that the mandatory retirement age has recently been raised from 60 to 65, and many major companies are rehiring those who officially retired at the age of 60 in the past.

While fewer marriages and fewer children, leading to population decline, may be a major problem for Japan, just aging itself can be a manageable trend, if necessary adjustments are made in business and society, and some actions are already under way in this regard. Hopefully, Japan will become the world's "elderly power" with wisdom, dignity and modesty.

This review is adopted from the following blog (with its Japanese translation):

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