Remember ME - You Me and Dementia

June 8, 2011

JAPAN: Seniors have few friends, neighbors to rely on

TOKYO / / Kyodo / News / June 8, 2011

Japanese seniors more isolated, survey reveals

Senior citizens in Japan are more isolated than their overseas counterparts, with few friends or neighbors to depend on other than relatives, a Cabinet Office survey showed Tuesday.

It asked people 60 years or older in Japan, Germany, South Korea, Sweden and the United States about whom they depend on in cases of trouble other than their family members.

Related report: Aging of Japanese Society

The results of the survey, which allowed multiple answers, showed that among Japanese respondents, 17.2 percent cited their friends and 18.5 percent pointed to their neighbors, both the lowest level in the five countries.

On the contrary, 20.3 percent of the Japanese respondents said they have no one whom they can rely on, the highest among the five countries, according to the survey results, which were included in the government's fiscal 2011 white paper on aged society.

Asked if they are involved in volunteer activities, 31.3 percent Japanese seniors responded yes, ranking fourth among the five nations, exceeding only South Korea at 17.6 percent.

In Sweden, 54 percent of the respondents take part in such activities, according to the survey.

The population of seniors aged 65 or older came to 29.58 million as of October last year, accounting for 23.1 percent of the overall population in Japan, up 0.4 percentage point from a year before.