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Policy Proposals  Urban and Local Development Proposal by Keidanren: "Concept of Residences and Towns Well Suited for Aging Society"

May 15, 2012

Considering Japan's population structure, which is expected to go through a rapid rise in the elderly population, it is necessary to promote residential and urban development well suited for such a society. It is imperative that effective efforts be made by the public and private sectors based on consistent policies covering both hard and soft infrastructure, to ensure peaceful and comfortable lives.

Currently, housing units and care facilities for seniors are in short supply in Japan. It is required to encourage the promotion of barrier-free homes, the smooth relocation of dwellings, and the improvement in terms of both quantity and quality of residences/facilities for seniors, in order to meet diversified needs derived from extended life expectancy and the rising number of households occupied solely by an elderly individual or a couple.

Additionally, it is necessary to promote city-wide barrier-free measures and the downsizing of urban structures. It is important to facilitate generational change in aging communities by taking advantage of local multifaceted attractions such as rich natural environments, good public safety and high education standards. It is also essential to have vigorous seniors in larger numbers who can contribute to the maintenance and rejuvenation of communities.

Furthermore, organizations, which play a central role in fostering collaboration across various fields in communities to realize seamless, one-stop services for senior citizens, are in demand. Utilization of manpower from the private sector and abroad is important in the fields of nursing and medical care that face severe shortages of human resources. Countermeasures for the aging of the population are also sought in the fields of distribution, retailing, transportation and finance.

To conquer these challenges, the state needs to develop and administer stable systems, and local governments need to overcome barriers between the public and private sectors to promote alliances between diverse parties and organizations. Appropriate division of roles among those sectors will enable the potential of private entities to be maximized.

Urban and Local Development