An estimated 2.4 million people nationwide work while taking care of their elderly family members, and roughly 100,000 are said to leave their jobs each year when doing both becomes impossible. Ensuring there are enough nursing care workers — who are in increasing demand with the rapid aging of the Japanese population — will be important not only for those who require care but also for the sake of reducing the number of people who give up work to care of their ailing family members.
According to a 2012 internal affairs ministry survey, roughly 487,000 people left their jobs over the preceding five years to care for family members, and only 123,000 of them have since been able to find new jobs. Women accounted for about 80 percent of the total — an indication that the burden of caring for aging relatives continues to fall heavily on women even after the introduction of the public nursing care insurance system. The number of such people is said to be particularly high among workers in their 50s.
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