|Japan in Numbers #14: 20.7 %
Percentage of the elderly to Japan's total population
* 2006/9/20 配信 ALC Newsletter No.44(ALC
International Marketing 発行)より
20.7---it's the percentage of the elderly (over 65 years old) to Japan's total population. This latest figure released by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication on September 17 reached a record high, increasing 0.7 points from last year. As you may already know, Japan has the world's highest longevity rate; 78.5 for males and 85.5 for females. For your reference, it's 74.8 for males and 80.1 for females in the U.S. (2003), 77.2 for males and 82.1 for females in Canada (2002), 77.8 for males and 82.8 for females in Australia (2003), and 76.3 for males and 80.7 for females in the UK (2002-2004). Now you may want to ask your Japanese friends tips for living a long life!
As we see more and more elderly people who enjoy their lives in retirement, we've also come to notice that our welfare system lags behind the rapid aging of the population and very low birthrates. One of the biggest issues is the national pension plan. It's easy to imagine that younger people will have to bear a much heavier burden of insurance premiums in the near future. Younger people are also becoming afraid of not being able to get enough pension when they get older, because the number of younger people will be just too small to support it.
So, more and more people are beginning to think this way: "If I won't be able to get pension in the future, then what's the point of paying the premium now?" As a result, about a third of the total pension premium wasn't paid in 2005. Sustaining the insurance for medical and nursing care of the elderly is also a challenging issue to solve for the same reason.
18 (the third Monday of September) was Respect-for-the-Aged
Day. It has been recognized as a day to show respect
for elderly people for more than 50 years, but recently,
less people seem to consider the meaning of it and just
see it as another three-day
weekend. But we should never forget that we always learn
lessons from the elderly---especially in this aging society.
Solving the problems doesn't seem to be easy at all, but
we can always start by keeping respect for the elderly in