With an above average population of over 65s, Akita in Japan has turned to its citizens and companies to develop and develop an Age Friendly city approach.
With an above average population of over 65s, Akita in Japan has turned to its citizens and companies to develop and develop an Age Friendly city approach. imtmphoto

Japan's Akita city ageing strategy

JAPAN'S population is shrinking and its ageing numbers increasing so much so that its Akita City has taken the lead in becoming an age friendly city.

The number of people aged 65 years and over in 2015 was 40.7 per cent of Japan's population.

Akita's city population in 2015 was 315,814. In 2018 it was 308,482 with 37.7 per cent aged over 60.

It is expected the population will continue to decrease while the number living to over 65 will increase to 36.6 per cent by 2030.

"Our goal is to make a society full of vitality, with people who are rich at heart and mind, promoting healthy and longer life," the Akita city's Age Friendly First Action Plan report states.

"Furthermore, we would like to create a society where the elderly can fully utilise their rich experience and knowledge. We aim to build a new society through collaboration between the government, citizens, and the private sector so that everyone can live their own 100-year life, with fun, fulfilment and hope."

Yuko Kodama, chief of its Age-friendly City Section in the Health Department's Longevity and Welfare Division says under its Age-Friendly Partner Project which started in 2015, 100 private sector companies have registered.

"They are promoting initiatives in consideration of the elderly and people with disabilities," he said.

"Some companies are contributing with initiatives which proactively promote employment of the elderly, setting up an AED (automatic external defibrillators) in their office, attending dementia supporter training course and implementing barrier-free improvements at shops.

"As a result, the number of new jobs for people aged 65 and over has increased to 13 and the number of re-employed and continuing employment has increased to 84.

"In addition, 13 companies have newly set AEDs in their office and have made it known so that local residents can also utilise them."

About 1749 people have also attended dementia supporter training course being delivered by project partners.

"In this way, through the age-friendly partner project, age-friendly activities of private companies are spreading, and we built a framework to promote age-friendly city in the entire community," Mr Kodama added.


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