Japan's elderly population hits record high

NHK -- Sep 20
A Japanese government survey shows the number of people aged 65 or older, and their ratio to the overall population, are both at record highs.

The survey was conducted ahead of the Respect for the Aged Day national holiday on Monday.

The internal affairs ministry estimates that, as of Wednesday, the elderly population was 36.4 million, up 220,000 from last year.

The ministry says the ratio of elderly people to the overall population was 29.1 percent, marking a rise of 0.3 percentage points. Japan's total population fell by 510,000 from last year.

UN data shows this proportion is the largest in the world, and is more than five percentage points higher than Italy's 23.6 percent, the second highest.

Of the elderly people in Japan, 15.83 million were male and 20.57 million were female.

The ministry also says the number of elderly workers in Japan rose for 17 consecutive years to reach 9.06 million last year, or 13.6 percent of the total workforce, which is also a record high.

The ratio of workers aged 65 or older to all elderly people rose for nine consecutive years to reach 25.1 percent, the highest ratio among the major countries.