Aging society

Japan's population is rapidly aging. By 2013, the proportion of persons aged 65 years or older will exceed 25%, making the country what is known as "a full-fledged aging society" in which one in four people is a senior.

graph: World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision by the United Nations

Trend and estimated aging* in major countries
*Over the age of 65
World Population Prospects: The 2008 Revision by the United Nations

Common changes in aging

  1. A. Changes in sensory functions:
    increased difficulty in hearing, seeing, talking or feeling
  2. B. Changes in physical ability:
    increased difficulty in walking, standing up and sitting down; reduced ability to react quickly; reduced coordination
  3. C. Changes in balance:
    increased tendency to lose balance or fall down
  4. D. Changes in memory and cognition:
    increased difficulty in remembering; increased forgetfulness; increased tendency to get confused
  • * Reference: "Textbook for Universal Design" published by Nikkei BP

Comprehensive understanding of disabilities

Many people have vision-related challenges—low vision, difference in sight due to partially limited color vision or cataracts, short or farsightedness, lower sight due to age, and visual impairment. 50 to 60% of Japan's general population use either glasses or contact lenses. Including temporary issues, a great number of people experience difficulty in day-to-day living.


Total population: "Estimated population" by the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, October 1, 2009
Number of people wearing glasses and contact lenses (2008): Surveyed by SEED Co. Ltd.
Low vision, partially limited color vision, etc. Color Universal Design Organization (CUDO)

The number of persons with physical disabilities
(the number of physical disability certificates registered as of March 2009)

Rounded to the nearest
1,000 people
Ratio to the total population
of Japan
Physically disabled 5,032,000 3.94%
Visually impaired 383,000 0.30%
Impaired hearing and balance disorders 449,000 0.35%
Impaired speech, language, and masticatory functions 60,000 0.05%
Motion disabled 2,788,000 2.19%
Internal disorders 1,353,000 1.06%
Intellectually disabled 786,000 0.62%

Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare: Report on social welfare administrative services, released on October 2009