One in 10 Japanese older than 80: government data

By AFP    September 18, 2023 | 08:52 pm PT
One in 10 Japanese older than 80: government data
An elderly woman (L) holds an umbrella while she and an elderly man (C) cross the main intersection in the Ginza shopping area of Japan’s capital Tokyo on Sept. 15, 2023. Photo by AFP
More than 10% of Japanese people have crossed 80 years or older for the first time, new official data showed, as the East Asian country faces a rapidly graying population.

Government data released on Sunday, ahead of Monday's "Respect for Aged Day" national holiday, also showed that the share of Japan's population at 65 or older expanded to a record 29.1% from 29% a year ago.

The level compared with second-ranked Italy's 24.5% and third-ranked Finland's 23.6%, Tokyo's Internal Affairs Ministry said.

"Japan has the highest percentage of elderly population in the world," the agency said in a news release.

For decades, Japan has seen its population shrink and grow older as young people delay marriage and children largely due to unstable jobs and economic difficulties.

As a result, the country has seen ballooning costs for elderly care with not enough young people to fill jobs and pay for various social and welfare programs.

The ministry said that with the "baby boomer" population turning 75 or older, Japan's 124.4 million people are continuing to grow older.

About 12.59 million people are 80 or older while 20 million are 75 or older, it added.

As a result, Japan is relying on an elderly labor force.

More than 9 million elderly are working, accounting for 13.6% of the workforce, or one in seven workers in Japan.

A quarter of all elderly in Japan have jobs, less than South Korea's 36.2%, but far ahead of other developing countries, such as the United States at 18.6% and France at 3.9%.

More than a third of people between 70 and 74 have jobs in Japan.

By 2040, Japan's elderly is projected to account for 34.8% of the entire population.

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