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The increase in the number of older people is another important trend in Japanese society. According to the 2000 census, the number of people aged sixty-five or over is 21,860,000, or 17.4 percent of the total population. The number of older women above sixty-five who are living by themselves is 1,922,000; the number of men older than sixty-five who are living single is 556,000. The majority of older women (80 percent) live by themselves. The heavy burden of seniors' care is on women. The eldest son's wife is expected to take care of older parents at home in the traditional Japanese manner. Elder abuse by family members occurs in some households. As elders are taken care of in a private space by family members, the abuse is hidden and not discovered until the situation becomes serious.

Public services for seniors are not sufficient. In 1998, The Ministry of Labor and Health established a new senior care management system and the qualifying examination. Senior care service in Japan is family based. Seniors are taken care of at private homes. The national senior care system produced many caregivers for older people, but the working conditions and wages are not good enough to obtain high-quality professional services.

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaMarriage: Cultural AspectsJapan - Mating And Marriage, Gender Roles, Masculinity And Men's Suicide, Decreasing Number Of Children - Leave for Working Parents, Conclusion