Publication: Silver Hues - Building Age-Ready Cities: Japan Background Paper

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Yuen, Belinda
Japan’s shift toward a super-aged society is being fueled by a combination of demographic factors. These include declining marriage and fertility rates and increases in life expectancy enabled by advances in medical science and improved nutrition and living conditions. Another trend is the rise in the number of older single-person or couple households as a result of various lifestyle and demographic changes, including a general decrease in average household size, the rise of smaller nuclear households, and the growing number of people who remain unmarried. The socioeconomic challenges arising from an aging and declining population have been at the forefront of Japan’s political and public policy discourse since the rapid population aging trend was first recognized in the 1980s. Central to the aging population challenge is the decline in working-age population, which could lead to labor force shortages and lower economic growth. Recognition of these growing challenges has engendered a shift in aging policy toward aging in place and healthy aging, with older persons encouraged to remain active and in their existing communities for as long as possible. The idea is not only to improve the well-being of older persons and their quality of life, but also to reduce the burden on the state of providing for the burgeoning health and welfare needs of a super-aged population. Japan has implemented several policies, guidelines, and programs to promote healthy aging. Japanese authorities and cities are implementing several projects in housing and homebased care to facilitate aging in place. Some of these projects are reviewed in this report.
Yuen, Belinda. 2022. Silver Hues - Building Age-Ready Cities : Japan Background Paper. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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