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Aging in Japan and Across Asia

Japan is on the brink of becoming the most super-aged society in history, and many other Asian nations are not far behind. In 2015 the Sasakawa Peace Foundation launched the Issues and Implications of Aging Asian Population Project to address the problem of aging in Asia. In this series we will introduce some of the challenges that Japan and other countries in the region face as their societies age, along with their efforts to solve the issues.

A Road Map to the Future

The Road Map to the Future was one of the wrap-up workshops at the Asian Impact Dialogue, held in Singapore this February. Participants fleshed out strategies to use in learning from their regional counterparts and improving elder care throughout East Asia.

A Transformation Toward Care in the Community

The countries of Asia are global forerunners in societal aging, and their efforts to address the issues involved will be looked to as a blueprint in years to come. Asian Impact Dialogue participants shared their insights and best practices in Singapore in February this year.

Tackling an Aging Asia: A Report on the Asian Impact Dialogue

Demographic shifts are having tremendous impact on societies around the world, making population pyramids heavier at the top and threatening the stability of societal support systems. In late February 2018, public officials and members of nongovernmental groups from around Asia gathered in Singapore to discuss the graying of society, with the focus on what must be done for the increasing ranks of the elderly in the region’s countries. We report on the discussion that took place.

Our “Silver” Future

Japan’s postwar “economic miracle” from 1954 through 1973 became a model for economic growth that many developing countries around the world sought to emulate. In the latter half of the 1990s, though—after Japan’s asset bubble burst—the country entered a deflationary period that it is still struggling to overcome, with other industrial countries nervously hoping to avoid the same fate. Japan now finds itself at the forefront of a global demographic shift toward falling birthrates and population aging, and the countries confronting similar trends are watching how Japan deals with the challenges. The final installment in this series examines the unprecedented aging of the global population and what the future portends.

Forging Intergenerational Links in VietnamDoi Yoshinori

In Vietnam, which lacks an adequate social welfare system, informal community-based activities play a major role in the well-being of elderly residents. The Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) in Thanh Hóa province on Vietnam’s north central coast is one example.

Buddhism’s Role in Social Welfare for Elderly Citizens in VietnamDoi Yoshinori

In Vietnam, which lacks an adequate social welfare system, Mahayana Buddhist institutions play a key role in securing the welfare of elderly residents. At a temple in the old central Vietnamese capital of Hue, these residents live in peace and comfort with the support of Buddhist nuns.

Creating Caregivers: Hill Tribes Fill Lowlands Care GapAsada Rei

Compared to cities like Bangkok, Chiang Mai in Thailand’s north offers cooler weather and an easier way of life that attracts not only tourists but also permanent residents from overseas. The tranquil, picturesque city is home to more than a hundred Buddhist temples, as well as the Old City with its ancient walls, and is surrounded by lushly forested hills and mountains, including Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest peak. In this installment, we look at efforts in this region to make life easier for older residents.

Recognizing What You Have: Lessons from Elder Care in ThailandAsada Rei

The aging of society in Thailand outstrips that in all other ASEAN countries. Thai government policy identifies “family and community” as core providers of care, a stance reflecting cultural and social traditions. But how do the people of Thailand approach care for older citizens in day-to-day life? This is the first installment of a two-part report on observations from fieldwork in Thailand.

NGO Support for Elderly Health, Independence in the PhilippinesKashiwagi Shiho

The Philippine population, which now exceeds 100 million, has already begun to gray. National and local governments are making progress on support for older residents, but volunteers and NGOs are increasingly expected to fill the gaps left by insufficient funding and other difficulties.

Filipino Hospitality and Respect for the AgedKashiwagi Shiho

In the Philippines, like other Southeast Asian countries, caring for older people falls mostly to family members, but private organizations step in to help older people who live alone or are in difficult financial situations. This warm and human response to genuine need also reflects the Filipino tradition of respect for one’s elders.

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