Dying alone becomes new normal as Japan spurns Confucius
Bloomberg -- Feb 20
Japan, with the world's highest proportion of retirees, can't build nursing homes fast enough. By 2025, one in three citizens will be 65 years or older from 12 percent of the population in 1990, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates. A lack of long-term care facilities means seniors increasingly risk living alone in ill-equipped homes or suffering abuse in the care of resentful relatives.
By 2030, the number of seniors living alone will increase 54 percent to 7.2 million household units from 2010 levels, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research in Tokyo. Elderly-care costs will more than double to 19.8 trillion yen ($212 billion) a year by 2026, the health ministry estimates. That threatens to overload the world's second-most indebted nation.
From now through 2030, an estimated 470,000 seniors will die alone in Japan unless more investment is made in caring for them, according to Hiroshi Takahashi, a professor of health sciences at the International University of Health and Welfare in Otawara City.
Japan may be a harbinger of a bigger crisis. Confucian-influenced societies from Vietnam to South Korea are grappling with the conflicting demands of modernization and traditions that venerated the elderly and obligated families to care for them, the Center for Strategic International Studies said in a report in July.
“The family is already under increasing stress from the forces of modernization,” the Washington-based center said. “Over the next few decades, massive age waves are due to engulf the region, slowing economic growth, driving up old-age dependency costs, and heaping large new burdens on governments and families alike.”
Shanghai's maritime court has seized a ship owned by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines Ltd. <9104> in connection with a wartime contract dispute involving the Japanese shipping company, according to an announcement by the court. (Jiji Press )
Japan and the United States have agreed in bilateral talks held in connection with the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord negotiations that the tariff on imported U.S. beef will be "9 percent or more," according to government sources. (The Japan News )
Police in Fuso, Aichi Prefecture, said Sunday they have arrested an unemployed 38-year-old man for attempted murder after he broke into the home of his ex-girlfriend and stabbed her and her parents. (Japan Today )
Feeding black-tailed gulls has been a popular activity on the sightseeing boats that cruise around the Matsushima islets, considered to be one of the three most beautiful spots in Japan, but local authorities banned the practice this month in a bid to protect the islets' famous pine trees from withering as a result of nitrogen in the droppings of the gulls, who have bred in large numbers in the area. (The Japan News )
Kanagawa prefectural police said Friday they have arrested an unemployed 42-year-old man on assault charges for allegedly attacked a 10-year-old elementary school boy and two others as they were playing in Yokosuka City in February of this year. (Japan Today )
Hatsune Miku, a computer-generated Japanese pop star who performs as a hologram, is to support some of Lady Gaga's tour of North America next month, the U.S. songstress has announced on Twitter. (Japan Today )