Graying Japan: Over 10% of population above 80, nearly 30% beyond retirement age

Japan’s demographic crisis has reached a new milestone as the government announced that more than 10 per cent of its population is now aged 80 or older. This revelation comes as part of a larger issue for the rapidly aging nation, with over 29.1 per cent of its citizens falling into the category of elderly, defined as age 65 and above — the highest rate in the world.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications released these alarming statistics to mark Respect for the Aged Day, a public holiday in Japan. The country is grappling not only with an aging population but also a declining birth rate and a shrinking workforce, all of which have the potential to strain funding for pensions and healthcare as the demand from the elderly surges.

Japan’s population has been steadily decreasing since its economic boom in the 1980s. The country’s fertility rate stands at a meager 1.3, far below the 2.1 needed to maintain a stable population, even without immigration. This demographic imbalance has led to more deaths than births for over a decade, presenting a mounting challenge for leaders of the world’s third-largest economy.

Besides, Japan boasts one of the highest life expectancies globally, which contributes to the expanding elderly population.

In response to the growing labor shortage and to reinvigorate its slowing economy, the Japanese government has actively encouraged seniors and stay-at-home mothers to re-enter the workforce in the past decade. While this initiative has achieved some success, with a record 9.12 million elderly workers in Japan, it cannot fully offset the social and economic impacts of the demographic crisis.

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Workers aged 65 and above now constitute more than 13 per cent of the national workforce, according to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Japan’s elderly employment rate is also among the highest compared to major economies.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida expressed his concerns about Japan’s ability to maintain essential social functions earlier this year, warning that the country was “on the brink of not being able to maintain social functions.” He emphasized that child-rearing support was the government’s “most important policy” and that addressing the issue “simply cannot wait any longer.”

Japan’s neighboring countries, including China, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan, are grappling with similar demographic crises, as they struggle to encourage young people to have more children amid rising living costs and social discontent.

Edited By:

Vadapalli Nithin Kumar

Published On:

Sep 19, 2023

My Name is Arun Jain I have done B.Tech in Computer Science and currently working with Love to cook and write blogs . Cook-eat-blog-cook-eat-blog.............

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