The worlds oldest country where nearly one in three people are over age of 65

Japan is witnessing a surge in its elderly population, with over one in 10 citizens now aged 80 or older, a startling revelation from recent national data.

The report also underscores that an astonishing 29.1 percent of Japan’s 125 million-strong populace has crossed the 65-year-old milestone, setting a new all-time high.

As Japan grapples with a demographic conundrum characterised by low birth rates and an increasingly aging populace, it solidifies its position as the world’s geriatric champion, as confirmed by the United Nations.

Italy and Finland lag behind as second and third contenders, with elderly populations making up 24.5 percent and 23.6 percent of their respective demographics.

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Projections from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research paint a concerning picture of Japan’s future, where those aged over 65 are predicted to account for a daunting 34.8 percent of the population by the year 2040, adding weight to the nation’s demographic woes.

Starkly contrasting the ageing dilemma is Japan’s remarkable statistic of having one of the highest elderly employment rates among major economies, with individuals aged 65 or older constituting more than 13 percent of the national workforce. Despite this, the country’s social security expenditure remains under tremendous strain.

In a bid to address the escalating crisis, Japan recently gave the green light to a record-breaking budget for the next fiscal year, a move driven, in part, by the surging costs of maintaining its ageing population.

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Efforts to reverse plummeting birth rates have yielded little success, mainly due to Japan’s exorbitant cost of living and its notorious culture of long working hours. Last year, Japan hit an alarming low, recording fewer than 800,000 births, the lowest since the 19th century, while in the 1970s, over two million newborns were celebrated annually.

Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s warning in January highlighted the nation’s precarious situation, as he cautioned that Japan teetered on the brink of societal collapse due to its plunging birth rate. However, authorities remain wary of embracing migrant workers as a viable solution to the fertility crisis, a stance that continues to ignite passionate debate.

Japan’s demographic predicament is not unique, as several other Asian nations, including China and South Korea, grapple with similar challenges. Last year, China experienced its first population decline since 1961, while South Korea claimed the title of having the world’s lowest fertility rate.

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