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Up to 10.7 million people, or about one in five workers in Japan, are estimated to be engaged in medical and welfare services in 2040, when the country’s older population is expected to peak, the welfare ministry said in an annual report on Friday.

The 2020 health, labor and welfare white paper, reported at the day’s Cabinet meeting, expressed concerns over shortages of personnel who provide such services and stressed the need to improve productivity in the sectors by using cutting-edge technologies and promote measures to tackle the low birthrate.

The report, which discussed social security and work styles toward 2040, forecast that 40% of men aged 65 as of 2040 will survive until the age of 90 and that 20% of women at the age in the year will live until 100.

With demand for nursing-care services expected to surge, the number of workers in the medical and welfare fields will jump from 8.26 million, or about one in eight workers, in 2018, the report predicted.

It pointed to the significance of strengthening the sustainability of related services by making efforts to streamline them and achieve financial stability.

Noting that the spread of teleworking and online activity in daily lives amid the novel coronavirus pandemic may have a large impact on social security and work styles in the future, the report stressed the need to respond to these changes swiftly and flexibly.

The 2020 white paper explained government measures taken in the past two years. The ministry skipped the release of an annual report for 2019, after it disclosed the 2018 white paper belatedly, in July 2019, in the aftermath of statistical irregularities over its monthly labor survey.

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