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Changing social concepts of age: Towards the active senior citizen

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Chapter Summary

Japan is undergoing a continuous increase in the proportion of elderly people in its population. The question the author deals with in this chapter is: how will older persons be treated in the new ageing society, in which there is a higher percentage of elderly persons in relation to the young and a smaller working population in relation to the dependent population? The principles of obedience and respect for the elderly are strongly influenced by the spirit of Confucianism, which was a dominant ethical tradition in East Asia. During the period of high economic growth after 1960, Japan changed from a rural society to an urban one. Japanese society mobilized its domestic rural population to work in the expanding industrial sector. In the 1980s, more people became aware of population ageing, especially after the White Paper on Welfare "Towards a Soft Landing in the Ageing Society" (MHLW 1980) was published.

Keywords: economic growth; elderly people; Japanese society; population ageing



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