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In 2040, when Japan’s population of people 65 or older is expected to near its peak, the number of senior citizen households will increase by 17 percent from 2015 to reach 22.42 million, or 44 percent of the nation’s total households, and 40 percent of those households will have only one member, according to the latest forecast by the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research. In addition to the rapid aging of the population, fueling the trend is the growing number of people who remain unmarried or get divorced, as well as an anticipated increase in the number of elderly people who lose their spouses.

The increase in the number of elderly people living alone is forecast to proceed more rapidly than earlier estimates anticipated. Because such people will find it hard to rely on relatives for help in daily life, they will likely turn to medical and social security services such as nursing care, placing greater pressure on them.

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