Why Nations May Need Us to Work Years Past Retirement Age

By 2030, Japan is projected to go from today’s 5.9 persons in the working-age labor pool supporting each retiree, to 1.9 workers per retiree (see Figure 1). In essence, this translates to a three-fold increase of pressure on the workforce just to support the population base at that time. This issue for Japan, according to the United Nations World Population Prospects, the 2010 Revision study, is higher than most but is followed by Europe, and the US. Even China faces an increasing pressure as we approach 2050.

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Japan’s telecoms developing sensors for seniors

Japan’s top telecoms company is developing a simple wristwatch-like device to monitor the well-being of the elderly, part of a growing effort to improve care of the old in a nation whose population is aging faster than anywhere else.

The device, worn like a watch, has a built-in camera, microphone and accelerometer, which measure the pace and direction of hand movements to discern what wearers are doing — from brushing their teeth to vacuuming or making coffee.

In a demonstration at Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.’s research facility, the test subject’s movements were collected as data that popped up as lines on a graph — with each kind of activity showing up as different patterns of lines. Using this technology, what an elderly person is doing during each hour of the day can be shown on a chart.

The prototype was connected to a personal computer for the demonstration, but researchers said such data could also be relayed by wireless or stored in a memory card to be looked at later.

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Japan’s population has record fall this year

Japan’s population shrank by a record margin in 2010 as the nation rapidly ages, according to an annual estimate released by the welfare ministry Saturday.

The number of Japanese people fell by 123,000, the biggest drop since records began in 1947, the ministry said, an illustration of the demographic crisis the country faces as a smaller working population has to support a mass of pensioners.

It is the fourth consecutive year that Japan’s population has declined. The fall was far larger than the 72,000 registered in 2009, the previous record.

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Japan’s Population declines by a record 183,000

Japan’s estimated population decreased for the second year in a row, declining by a record 183,000, or 0.14 percent, from a year earlier to 127,510,000 as of Oct. 1, 2009, government data showed Friday. It was the third year-on-year decline in Japan’s population since 1950 when comparable data became available, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a report. Japan’s population previously declined twice — in 2005 by 19,000, or 0.01 percent, and in 2008 by 79,000, or 0.06 percent.