While Japan’s aging population is usually talked of in terms of rising welfare expenditures and the financial burden it will impose on future generations, recently a new problem has emerged: abuse of the elderly.

Lawyers and other experts handling the issue say that compared with child or spouse abuse, abuse of the elderly tends to take longer to surface, in part because the elderly feel responsible when the violence is inflicted by their offspring, and also because the government and local administrators have so far failed to address the problem.

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