In addition, Japan has one of the lowest obesity rates in developed countries. Food is another factor, Akiyama said. Low in fat intake and eating more fish, vegetables, seaweed and green tea, many Japanese believe that moderation is good for all aspects of life. Yet while people are living longer, Japan's overall population is shrinking. That's because the birth rate has been falling for some time, reaching an all-time low last year. Akiyama said the working-age population has been steadily decreasing, while the population aged 65 and over, especially those aged 75 and over, is increasing. As the number of seniors grows, people also realize that seniors have different needs.
Successive governments in Japan have acknowledged this, but efforts have tended to continue to promote established policies. Hiroko Akiyama said, "The Company banner design government is mainly concerned with the health care system, the pension system, the housing and the transportation system. But this society was built when the population was much younger. Therefore, we need to redesign the hard and soft infrastructure of society. , the government is doing a lot.” A more radical approach is currently needed. Dr. Akiyama and her research team conducted several social experiments in rural and urban areas to explore ways to allow people to live independently for longer. "We're trying to redesign communities to meet the needs of a highly aging society," she said. "We want to build the kind of communities where people can live to be 100 years old. Keep them healthy, active, connected and safe. So this is not a retirement community. We don’t just work for seniors, we work for people of all ages.” As more people live longer and longer, there are opportunities to fill job gaps in a shrinking labor market.
In Japan, starting a new job after retirement is called a "second career" or "second life." It is believed that, for some, employment brings a sense of purpose and regularity to life, which in turn contributes to health. This has inspired another social experiment in creating community workplaces in schools, government offices and nursing homes. Hiroko Akiyama, 78, has started her second career. "I was a college professor for a long time," she said. "When I was 70, I started farming. There were actually four people, including me, with a lot of different skills, and we started a company that rented a lot of money. I started small farming. When I was young, I wanted to be a farmer. So it was a dream for many years.” When asked if she wanted to live to be 100, she said, "I'm not sure. My mother died three years ago at 98. She had a good life. I'm not sure I wanted to outlive her.. ....I don't have a strong desire to live beyond 100."