chapter  14
14 Pages

Aging and social welfare in Japan

ByLeng Leng Thang

Japan fi rst entered the ranks of aging societies in 1970 when the proportion of its population aged 65 and over reached 7 percent. With the continued increase in life expectancy and a plunging birth rate since the 1980s, a “graying crisis” has threatened Japan, making “aging” one of the most popular topics in public discourse. Japan’s had topped the OECD’s list of the world’s oldest populations in 2002, and its total population entered a period of decline in 2005. That year, there were 25.7 million people age 65 and over (20.1 percent of the population), and the average age was 43.3 years, with a life expectancy at birth of 82 years.