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Japan’s Elderly Population Accounts for Record 27.7% (News)

Tokyo, Sept. 17 (Jiji Press)—The estimated number of people aged 65 or older in Japan stood at 35.14 million as of Friday, accounting for 27.7% of the nation's total population, with both figures hitting record highs, an internal affairs ministry survey showed Sunday. The elderly population increased 570,000 from a year earlier and its share rose 0.5 percentage point, with the total national po…

Average Life Expectancy of Japanese Hits Record High (News)

Tokyo, July 27 (Jiji Press)—The average life expectancy of Japanese men and women in 2016 reached record highs, the Health, Labor, and Welfare Ministry said Thursday. Japanese men had an average life expectancy of 80.98 years, up from 80.75 years in 2015, and that of women stood at 87.14 years, up from 86.99 years, according to a survey by the ministry. Both Japanese men and women ranked sec…

Prominent Japanese Doctor Hinohara Dies at 105 (News)

Tokyo, July 18 (Jiji Press)—Hinohara Shigeaki, honorary head of St. Luke's International Hospital in Tokyo and an advocate of patient-centered medical services, died of respiratory failure Tuesday morning. He was 105. As he continued practicing medicine even after he turned 100, Hinohara was regarded as an icon of elderly people playing active roles in Japan's graying society. Born in 1911 i…

Tougher Dementia Checks for Elderly Drivers Come into Force (News)

Tokyo, March 12 (Jiji Press)—Japan's revised Road Traffic Act came into force on Sunday, introducing tougher tests for drivers aged 75 or older to detect signs of dementia in an effort to forestall traffic accidents by drivers with cognitive disorder. Under the law, elderly drivers will be required to undergo 30-minute cognitive tests to measure memory and judgment if they commit any of 18 traf…

Foreign Care Workers in Japan: A Policy Without a VisionHirano Yūko

Japan will lower specific immigration barriers this year to ease a projected shortage of professional care workers for the elderly. A health sociologist draws on extensive research to critique the government’s shortsighted, private-sector-driven approach to the problem, calling for greater efforts to support and export Japan’s advanced system of care work.

Japan’s Traffic Deaths Below 4,000 for First Time in 67 Years (News)

Tokyo, Jan. 4 (Jiji Press)—The number of traffic deaths in Japan fell below 4,000 last year for the first time in 67 years, National Police Agency data showed Wednesday. The number dropped by 213, or 5.2%, from the previous year to 3,904. The figure was last below 4,000 in 1949, when a post–World War II record low of 3,790 was marked. The 2016 number marked the third lowest after 3,848 in 1948, …

Barrier-Free Design in Japan

Transportation hubs such as airports and train stations as well as public facilities are being fitted with wheelchair-accessible restrooms, tactile flooring, and other design features to increase their accessibility. Such efforts to make Japan increasingly barrier free have gained momentum ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and include installing level landings to improve access to sidewalks and equipping public facilities with elevators and ramps.

Policy Fixes Needed for Japan’s Elderly WomenHiguchi Keiko

Japanese women confront three major hurdles to pursuing a career during their lifetime. Using data, Higuchi Keiko, an expert on women’s issues, highlights the financial and social challenges women continue to face in Japan’s graying society.

Two-Tiered Employment System Hinders Effective Use of Over-60sImano Kōichirō

As Japan’s population shrinks, the country needs to make maximum use of its potential labor force, including those aged 60 and over. But the present system of rehiring older employees on short-term fixed contracts brings with it numerous problems.

Wrestling with Poverty and Income InequalityKomamura Kōhei

Japan is not the only industrialized nation that has seen an increase in income inequality in the past few decades, but it is one of the few countries where the poor are actually getting poorer. Komamura Kōhei draws on hard data to document this trend while examining its social and policy implications.

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