Ageing lessons from Japan - - Part 3
There have been two remarkable periods of change in modern Japan: A decade and a half after an American commodore forced the hermit country to open ports to American merchant ships, the destruction of Edo (Tokyo) by the Ansei Great Earthquake of 1855 and a wish to avoid the fate of the crumbling Chinese Empire at the hands of Western and Russian colonial vultures, Japan decided to modernise in the late 1860s. Then post the calamitous defeat in 1945, for almost 50 years, Japan created a growth miracle. The number of people of working age increased by 37m and Japan overtook West Germany in 1967 to become the world’s second-largest economy. However, in the next 40 years, the working-age population will shrink and by 2055 it will be smaller than it was in 1950. The country's National Institute of Population and Social Security Research says in the first country to seriously experience the natural process of ageing, that the population, which began to decline in 2005, is now expected to fall from 127.5m in 2009 to below 120m by 2025 and to 90m by 2055. At the same time, the country’s 27m elderly - - those aged over 65 - - will account for more than one-third (33.7%) of the total population by 2035 and for one out of every 2.5 people by 2055.
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