Japan’s aging population is causing a looming crisis. How is the world’s most innovative nation preparing for the future?
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More than a quarter of Japanese people are over 65 and the number is rising. Soon more than 100 other nations will face a similar problem. Can they learn from the Japanese approach to their ageing demographic?
It’s estimated that by 2015 there will be 2.5 million Japanese with senile dementia and as Japan becomes an increasingly urban population, its cities are struggling to cope. In Tokyo a scheme to keep the elderly active with part time jobs is proving a hit. “I have no experience of working in a nursery, but this work is pleasant and useful”, says 77-year-old Rie. “If most people work until 75 and pay tax, we can support them and it makes people healthier”, argues Professor Akiyama, who runs the scheme.