Sitting around a table, a dozen elderly women watch affectionately as small children play next to them. When one opens her book, a little boy runs up and asks, "What are you reading?"

It's a typical scene at Konoyubi Tomare, a day care facility in the city of Toyama. The elderly women are being cared for because they have dementia, and the children because their parents are at work, explained Kayoko Soman, one of the facility's founders.

"We see no need to separate the elderly from the children, or the disabled from the able-bodied," Soman said.