The number of Japanese aged 65 or older will on Sunday reach a record-high of an estimated 23.62 million — roughly one out of every 5.4 people — according to a government survey released Saturday.
The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry survey shows the cohort increased by 780,000 from a year earlier. Its ratio to the total population grew to a record-high 18.5 percent, up 0.5 percentage point.
As the number of children in Japan has gradually decreased, the ratio of those over 65 to those under 15 has risen to 1.3. It stood at 0.66 in 1999.
The ministry released the survey ahead of Sunday’s Respect for the Aged Day.
The survey also shows that the number of people aged 75 or older totaled 13 million, topping the 10 million mark for the first time. The cohort accounts for 7.9 percent of Japan’s entire population of 126 million.
By gender, there are 9.95 million men and 13.67 million women aged 65 or older. Of those over 85, women outnumber men by 1.79 million to 720,000, a ratio of 2.5 to 1.
Japan’s ratio of those over 65 to the total population is the highest in any major industrialized nation. Italy’s ratio stands at 18.2 percent, Germany’s is 16.2 percent and France’s is 15.9 percent.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research predicts the cohort will continue to grow, reaching 31.99 million in 2014, which is 1.4 times larger than the current number. If that prediction is accurate, one out of every four Japanese will be 65 or older.
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