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A section of the health and welfare ministry’s Advisory Council on Social Welfare has started discussions to review the nursing care insurance system. The cost of nursing care services for the elderly will increase as senior citizens make up an increasingly large proportion of Japan’s population. We hope the council will come up with proposals that are fair regarding cost sharing between younger and older generations and between high- and low-income people. On the basis of the council’s discussions, the ministry is scheduled to announce a plan to reform the nursing care insurance system by the end of this year.

Council members will discuss three key issues — improvement of nursing care services provided in the private homes of elderly citizens, measures to cope with an increasing number of people suffering from senile dementia and stabilization of the funds needed to run the nursing care insurance system. These issues are difficult to solve because they are closely related to the rapid graying of Japan’s population and a shortage of funds. The council must present proposals that can gain widespread support.

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