Policy Proposals  Urban and Local Development   Housing and Town Planning Well Suited for Aging Society -- Toward Long, Independent and Healthy Senior Living --

December 17, 2013


Keidanren published its proposal "Housing and Town Planning Well Suited for Aging Society -- Toward Long, Independent and Healthy Senior Living."

Amid the progress of aging not only in Japan but also in Europe and emerging countries in Asia, it is important for Japan to take the initiative in addressing this issue and become the first country overcoming it. The proposal argues from the following two perspectives: "long and independent living" and "comfortable and healthy living".

1. Long and independent living

It is important to implement measures in coordination with diverse fields toward the realization of "aging in place," a concept of aging in communities and supporting seniors' life by communities.

First of all, it is necessary to improve their residential environment through barrier-free and hazard-resistance, etc. Preparing housing units for the elderly people, which are in short supply currently, is also an urgently needed. Furthermore, it is important to develop an environment that promotes the relocation of dwellings in accordance with the level of care, etc.

In order for seniors to live in their own homes and communities, not only modifying their residences to suit for aging but also supporting their life by communities is necessary. In this regard, the national government should promote the comprehensive regional care system.

In-home health-care requires utilization of information and communications technology (ICT). Telemedicine and telecare, in particular, will contribute to solving many challenges related to aging society.

2. Comfortable and healthy living

The most effective measure for overcoming the challenges posed by aging society is to extend the healthy life expectancy of people. Comprehensive health-promotion will be effective, such as taking a population approach through town planning and encouraging the health care industry.

Realization of communities in which key facilities are accessible on foot will help people to stay in good health through going about their daily life, "walking". Developing such an environment will require the downsizing of urban structures, which will enable residents to access administrative, medical, nursing and other services within walking distance.

Keeping one's mental health is as essential as maintaining one's physical health. Especially for elderly people, isolation from their communities is the biggest concern. It is crucial that they are connected with the local community and encouraged to go out.

Utilization of ICT, such as visualization of health data and joining social networking services (SNS), is also indispensable to facilitate health-promotion.

The role of corporations is to provide services and products that promote people's health and contribute to the extension of their healthy life expectancy. At the same time, Keidanren asks for governmental efforts, especially deregulation, for the development of an environment that will help health-care industry to grow.