Survey finds 31% of older Japanese have no close friends

Japan Times -- May 13
Over 31% of Japanese aged 60 or older say they do not have any close friends, according to a government survey involving older populations in Japan, Germany, Sweden and the United States.

In the survey conducted by the Cabinet Office, 31.3% of the Japanese respondents said they did not have any close friends of any gender outside their families, a figure far higher than 14.2% among U.S. respondents, 13.5% among those from Germany and 9.9% among Swedish participants.

Although the survey covered only four countries, the results suggest Japan’s older people tend to live without close social interaction beyond the family unit.

As the country’s population rapidly grays, calls are growing for efforts to prevent such people in Japan from living in solitude.

Asked about their interactions with neighbors, 20.0% of Japanese respondents said they consult with their neighbors or are consulted by them, while 5.0% said they help each other when they become sick. Again, Japan’s figure came was the lowest in both categories among the four countries. - Japan Times