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Dealing with Japan's Ageing Problem

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Photo: Old Japanese Couple | Image Seidoukai

With a life expectancy of 85.52 years old, Japan is one of the world's ageing society. For the Japanese, it is normal to live a long, fulfilling and healthy life.

However, improving life expectancy and the decline in birth rates led to the population's age imbalance.

This demographic change if not addressed will affect the country's economic growth.

Here are 4 steps that Japan took to cope with the challenge of an ageing population:

Preventing suicide

The country has long struggled with a high suicide rate and it is the leading cause of death among the youth. While the elderly are living a longer life, a lot of the younger population are taking their own lives. If this trend continues, fewer people will be in the workforce, and less youth to have children. Government officials recognized such problem and took actions to address the situation. An example is the inspirational signs mounted all over Aokigahara forest— dubbed as the "suicide forest". On top of that, the officials launched some programs aimed at suicide prevention. They teaching children how to get help as soon as possible. They made them realize how tough it is to get out once they are suffering.

Women empowerment

Japan is a traditional society and it is more common for wives to raise children and leave their jobs. The unforgiving culture of women staying at home has held them back in workplaces. This is the problem not only in Japan but all over the world. Prime minister Shinzo Abe developed a plan called "womenomics" to involve more women in the workforce. He started promoting policies to support and empower women to work and have a family at the same time. He even wants women to fill leadership roles by 2020. In addition, building child care facilities is also a priority to support child care. Thus, securing a work-life balance to slowly revive the fertility of its population.

Robot Revolution

Japan is also exploring robotics and artificial intelligence as a practical solution. In the next 10 years, the construction industry expects at least a million people to retire. As such, it will be a huge problem if labor supply falls short. In answer to the imminent problem, the government developed the "New Robot Strategy." In this hundred billion yen plan, it will focus on three objectives namely: establishing Japan as the next leading industry in robotics labor market, maximizing robot functions, and establishing a global base for robotics innovation. Automated labor industry is still far from perfect but it is growing.

Increased tourism campaign

Inbound tourism continues to rise. As such, Japan has become one of the world's fastest growing travel destination. According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), an estimate of 28.7 million stayed in Japan in 2017. An astonishing 334 percent increase since 2010 with only 8.6 million travellers. The country's visa regulations has contributed to the influx of tourists. As of now, a total of 66 nationalities can travel as a tourist without a visa. With the increasing exposure to foreigners, this may encourage them to work and live in Japan. Such can help to sustain the depleting young population.

If you’d like to see robots in your Tokyo tour, or find out what makes Japan one of the best travel destinations in Asia, head over to Japan’s capital city and go on a night or day tour in Tokyo.

Plus, discover the country's culture, people, and traditions by taking part in a walking tour — for free!


Tokyo Localized provides visitors and travellers to Tokyo with a unique perspective of this great city, what makes us unique is that our tour guides live and work in Tokyo, have a passion for this city and love meeting and welcoming new faces. Find out more about our Unique Day and Night Tours of Tokyo - we can't wait to meet you!


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