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Seniors in Japan are lonelier than their peers abroad

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
                                People wearing protective masks wait for a traffic light near banners reading ” Stay Home” hoisted at a shopping street in Tokyo in January.

    ASSOCIATED PRESS

    People wearing protective masks wait for a traffic light near banners reading ” Stay Home” hoisted at a shopping street in Tokyo in January.

TOKYO >> Older Japanese people are more willing to work but have fewer friends than their peers in other developed countries, according to a survey.

The government released its Annual Report on the Aging Society last month, with results indicating that Japanese people age 60 and older may be feeling more lonely than their counterparts in three other surveyed countries: the United States, Germany and Sweden.

Asked whether they had close friends other than their family members, 31.3% of Japanese respondents said they did not. That compares with 14.2% of Americans, 13.5% of Germans and 9.9% of Swedes.

THE REPORT urges government measures that allow older people to engage socially and safely, suggesting the use of technology.

The survey was conducted from December to January.

While isolation and loneliness are increasingly evident in graying Japan, the report also shows that older people in Japan are more motivated to work, with 40.2% answering that they wanted to work or continue in their jobs. Fewer of their counterparts felt the same in the U.S., Germany and Sweden, at 29.9%, 28.1% and 26.6%, respectively.

The report said flexible work styles, including telework, will be necessary for more of Japan’s seniors to stay in the workforce.

As of October, Japan’s population stood at 125.71 million, including 36.19 million people age 65 or older, or 28.8% of the country.

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