Not no country for old women.

Last Monday was “Respect for the Aged Day” in Japan, which is a holiday to celebrate those who have reached the upper years of life by treating them to dinner or with gifts. This is good news for the struggling economy as the number of folks in their golden years who are owed presents is reaching new heights.

To start, the overall population of Japanese people over the age of 65 has swelled by 300,000 this year to a record high of 36.17 million. To put that in context, that’s about a million shy of the entire population of Canada and accounts for about 28.7 percent of the Japanese population.

Breaking that down by sex, 31.6 percent of all Japanese women are seniors as are 25.7 percent of Japanese men.

However, the rise in people over the age of 70 was even sharper with 780,000 new septuagenarians since last year. With that, Japanese women hit a brand new milestone in that one in four Japanese women is now over the age of 70. That means a Japanese woman is now more than twice as likely to be over 70 than she is to be left handed.

▼ That would actually make the 60-something women of idol group Obachaaan relatively young

Given all this, it should come as no surprise that Japan leads the world in elderly people. Italy and Portugal follow with 23.3 and 22.8 percent of their respective populations seniors.

While aging isn’t the worst thing to lead the world in, it does present a range of social problems that need addressing, so many younger people commiserated online about these new records.

“So, that’s why I can’t meet any women!”
“If the population were increasing too, this wouldn’t be a problem. But…”
“A lot of people value what little free time we have, and having children takes away all of that.”
“Choke off the future of younger generations, and that is the secret to longevity.”
“Great, even more people who complain to businesses.”
“I wonder if we will see more age gaps in marriages.”
“Older people now can at least remember fondly to ‘back in the day…’ But I feel like we don’t have anything that we’ll look back on; just vague things like YouTubers.”
“So, until what age will I have to work?”

Of course the most pressing issue of this aging population is how to support their living expenses and medical costs. With not enough younger people to pay into pension plans and healthcare, the only alternative appears to be having seniors work until older and older ages.

As such, the population of working elderly has been on the rise for the past 16 years and this year also reached a record high. This year saw 8.92 million seniors joining or remaining in the workforce. About 77 percent of those workers have non-full-time jobs, with surveys suggesting many prefer the flexible hours of such arrangements.

▼ Hopefully SoraNews24 will still be around when I’m 80. Their hours can’t be beat and they don’t look down on my hunting and pecking

That still amounts to only 13.3 percent of the huge total senior population in Japan, and the government is hoping to drastically expand this situation by 2040. That is when the “second baby boomer” generation, born between 1972 and 1974, will reach old age and push the total number of elderly to over 35 percent of the Japanese population.

A current idea is to introduce more and more robotic avatars that can allow seniors to do a variety of manual labor without the restrictions of time, space, or physical ability. That might sound like a radical sci-fi solution to a serious problem, but the current trend appears to be inevitable and as it stands alternatives are few.

Source: Asahi Shimbun, Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert image: Pakutaso
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