Mitsue Nozaki has enjoyed a comfortable life as a senior living on a pension for the 15 years since she retired from a major company, where she had worked for about 40 years.

But the 75-year-old, who lives alone in Toshima Ward, Tokyo, was shocked when she received an official notice in early April about her new health insurance premiums.

It showed her monthly premium would rise to ¥14,700 from ¥6,500 the previous year, as Nozaki and others aged 75 or older were placed in a new public health insurance system from April, separate from the rest of the public.