1. TOP
  2. ちょっとイイ話
  3. 2006年
  4. いくつになっても健やかに


少子高齢化問題-3 いくつになっても健やかに

  • 研究開発

This is the last edition presented during these three months for discussing "the ageing society with a declining birthrate." We will introduce the practice of the government and discuss what we can do first.



Written by Nozomi Kaminaga(神永 希)
What can we do?


  It is often mentioned that longingly looking back at the happy old days or critically looking at recent young people are evidence of aging. Will the present children and those yet to be born act like us when they become old? I hope that sometime in a wonderful tomorrow the adults of that time will look back at our days and acknowledge that they were hard times which paved the way for their wonderful present. Now, let us talk about what we can do for that wonderful tomorrow.






A declining birthrate is a national crisis.

  Implementation of the measures against the declining birthrate started with the Angel Plan in 1994, but this plan was not recognized as the most important issue for the nation before 2003, the year the Basic Law on Measures for the Declining Birthrate was enacted.

  This law defines the following responsibility of citizens;

The citizens, having the dream of making families and raising children, will diligently work towards realizing a society within which it will be safe to bear and educate children (article 6).

  I am shocked that the law dictates my dream, but it may very well be recognized as a fact that the situation in Japan is so serious that it is necessary to enact a law to enforce us to hold on to our dream. Do you have a dream... on families and child care?





The socialization of child care

  The latest measures to arrest the declining birthrate are shown in Figure 1.

  These days, the leading idea for the measures against the declining birthrate has been changed to target the group who are not married or not interested in marriage and child care as the essential problem, rather than the families having infant children.

  The detailed measures are stated in the "Action Plan for Supporting the Next Generation Upbringing" drawn by each local government. Check it out, especially if you are "not" in the midst of child care!



図1 新しい少子化対策の枠組み(資料:内閣府少子化社会対策会議)
Figure 1: New Framework of Measures against the Declining Birthrate










Challenging an ageless life

  On the other hand, the measures aimed at an ageing society have been comparatively carried out earlier and the major accomplishment so far was enforcing the Basic Law on the Measures for the Ageing Society 1995 and the Long-Term Care Insurance System started in 2000.

  Also, population ageing has become an international issue, as the United Nations symbolically adopted the year 1999 as the International Year of Older Persons. The theme of the International Year is "towards a society for all ages." The message is similar to the case of a declining birthrate that not only the aged people, the group directly targeted, but also other important issues such as young people's lifestyles and the inter-generational exchange and communication.

  Moreover, recently attempts are being made to develop the system that can support the active elderly people. Many of these elderly people can contribute to the society using their skills, knowledge and experience which they accumulated throughout their lives. Others might make efforts and succeed in something late in their lives, or enjoy their lives with new values instead of their positions or honors they upheld in their early years. If many elderly people enjoy such an ageless life, don't you think that this will make the people around them happier and look forward to getting old?





Healthy in both body and mind

  Nowadays, health service has been watched with interest based on the Healthy Japan Campaign 21. Health service aims at the preservation of daily health, the prevention of diseases resulting from bad habits, the improvement of illness without medical care, and so on, and includes the examination, education and consultation related to physical and mental health.

  Health service might not be familiar with many people but it has an important role of letting us know and appreciate the accumulation of good habits related with eating, exercising, drinking, smoking, and teeth-brushing, etc. for the maintenance and the promotion of health. Also, health is indispensable to family care. For all of children, the elderly people and hard working people, health first!





  We have discussed and introduced the background, the present conditions and the measures the government carries out during these three months. Still nobody is sure on the best way to deal with this problem. However, being interested in it can be an important first step. If someone finds us being in trouble, or if we notice someone being in trouble, or if we feel something being changed by taking action, we will be good members of a cohesive society.


an Extra Article “How should I compare between Japan and the U.S”