Japan could face a shortage of up to 270,000 nurses by 2025, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.
The ministry said Monday that a study it conducted on registered nurses, assistant nurses, public health nurses and midwives indicates the shortage will be most acute in urban areas where home health care and other forms of nursing are widely used.
With baby boomers being at least 75 by 2025, social security spending by the government as well as demand for medical practitioners are expected to rise rapidly.
To secure skilled health care workers, the ministry is trying to improve working conditions in the field, where overwork and low pay are common problems.
The study, which the ministry conducted in hopes of finding ways to alleviate the problem, found that up to 2.02 million nursing staff will be required by 2025.
However, it estimates there will be only around 1.75 million to 1.82 million people in the field by that time, only a small increase from the 1.66 million recorded in 2016.
The ministry attributed the shortage of home nursing and care workers to people leaving the field in large numbers due to the heavy workload and other reasons.
Local governments need to “revise their health care plans and strive to secure skilled workers in line with the actual situation,” a ministry official said.