event to mark Respect for the Aged Day in Japan drew over 200
people in an exercise meant to increase their body strength and
The exercise was more than just symbolic, as the number of
people aged 65 and above has risen to a record high of 27.7
percent of Japan's population, government figures showed.
Significantly, those in this age category who still work has
also hit a record, highlighting efforts by the public and
private sectors to keep more elderly in the workforce longer to
battle labor shortages.
The government estimates, released on Monday, are a stark
reminder of the challenges posed by years of a declining
birthrate, which is now at 1.45 births per woman. Many
economists say a developed country needs a birthrate slightly
above 2.0 to prevent its population from shrinking.
Japan has been struggling with a declining workforce for
decades, and its elderly ratio is the highest among Group of
Seven nations, followed by Italy at 23.0 percent, Germany at
21.5 percent, and France at 19.7 percent.
Official figures showed 35.14 million Japanese people were 65 or
older, with 7.7 million of them holding down jobs. The number of
people aged 90 or above also topped two million for the first
Natsu Naruse, a participant in the exercise who recently turned
100 years old, encapsulated Japan's challenge.
"I think my children would have trouble," if I lived longer, she
(Reporting by Stanley White & Kwiyeon Ha; Editing by Shri
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