Ten years have passed since the introduction of the nursing care insurance system in April 2000. In fiscal 2009, some 3.92 million people used nursing care insurance services. Discussions have started in preparation for a once-every-three-years reform of the system that will be implemented in fiscal 2012.

As Japan’s population is rapidly graying, wide public discussions will be necessary to make the nation a society in which the elderly can live without worries while the financial burden is shared equitably by all generations. The nursing care insurance system has problems. Wages for nursing care workers are so low that they often quit after just a short period. Some 420,000 elderly people are waiting to be admitted into special nursing care homes for those with serious physical or mental impairment.

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