Japan is the oldest country in the world with more than 10 million over 80’s
Tokyo (AsiaNews) - For the first time in its history, the number of Japanese "over 80" has exceeded 10 million units. Comparing the latest national statistics with global trends, Japan is the oldest worldwide. Nationwide one in 10 women is over 80, while 10.2 million people (or 7.9% of the total population, comprising about 126 million people) are over 81. Another record is that of over 65s, exceeding for the first time, 33,840,000: for 26.7% of the total.
The data was published on the eve of the Respect-for-the-Aged Day, which is celebrated today and is a national holiday in Japan. Compared to the numbers of 10 years ago, Japan lost 940 thousand total units; on the contrary, the "over 65" are 8.08 million more.
To be specific, the "over 70" are 24.15 million (19% of the population); "over 75" are 16,370,000 (12.9%); "over 85" are 5.01 million (3.9%), of which 3.5 million are women. The "over 65" males are 14.62 million, 23.7% of the total male population; women are 19,210,000, 29.5% of the total female.
The issue is not just a statistical one, but involves society and the national economy. With these rates of aging, warns the National Institute for Population and Social Security, by 2040, 36.1% of the population will be "senior" or "over 65". They will be those who were born in the last baby boom, which occurred between 1971 and 1974.
Population aging is currently the most urgent problem for the country, which threatens a collapse of the pension and welfare system. This drama, writes the Bishop of Niigata Msgr. Kikuchi in a commentary published by AsiaNews, also carries another negative aspect: "An aging society and the dramatic decline of the young population, which moves in big cities like Tokyo, means the disappearance of local communities."
The Japanese Catholic Church has sought to raise awareness among the Japanese population. The Bishops' Conference declared 2010 "Year for Life" and launched a series of medical and social initiatives in favor of pregnancies. The results, however, are still not satisfactory: many couples prefer to wait beyond the maximum age limits to have a child, favoring their career. In addition, a very high rate of suicide among juveniles and a consumerist tendency in society do not bode well for the future.