A large number of postwar baby boomers reach retirement age this year. The working population, aged 15 to 64, will decrease by several hundred thousand people every year while the number of citizens aged 65 or older will continue to increase.

It is estimated that, in fiscal 2025, 22.3 percent of those aged 65 or older will need nursing care, up from the 18.4 percent in fiscal 2006. Nursing care spending will jump to 17 trillion yen from 7 trillion yen in fiscal 2006.

Such prospects appear gloomy, but through effort and ingenuity, the baby boomers as well as the central and local governments and enterprises may be able to make the picture brighter.

One hopeful sign is that most baby boomers are still healthy and have strong intellectual curiosity. Thus they can continue to contribute to society. A Tokyo Metropolitan Government poll conducted last year shows that 80 percent of male baby boomers want to be working five years from now. Corporations would do well to take advantage of their accumulated experience and knowhow, particularly given that many enterprises stand to lose important skills and knowhow once baby boomers begin to retire in large numbers. Some baby boomers can contribute by establishing their own companies. Other retirees can also help their communities in fields not directly related to business, such as educational activities for children.

The baby boomers number about 7 million, and about a half of them live in the Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya megalopolises. Local governments can utilize the baby boomers’ experience and knowledge to revitalize their local economies and communities since quite a few of the baby boomers want to spend their post-retirement life in their native prefectures.

The baby boomers can continue to live creative and socially meaningful lives if they use their imagination and make efforts.

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