Record 25 million Japanese over 65

The proportion of elderly people continues to grow in Japan, with a record 24.84 million people, or nearly one-fifth of the total population, estimated to be aged 65 or older, according to a government report released Sunday.

The estimated number of people over 65 has risen by 550,000 from the previous estimate released in September 2003 to a record 19.5 percent of the overall population, an increase of half a percentage point.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry announced the results of the survey to mark national Respect for the Aged Day on Monday.

Much of the increase in the elderly population was seen among those 75 or older. That age group increased by 530,000 people, or 0.5 percent.

The population aged 65 or over has been growing steadily since 1950, and the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, another governmental body, estimates that the ratio will jump to 25.3 percent in 10 years.

By sex, there were 10.49 million men 65 years or older, accounting for 16.9 percent of all males, and 14.35 million women 65 or older, comprising 22 percent of the total female population.