An Aging Population Leaves Future Of Cities Uncertain In Japan

<p>Japan's population is aging, and could drop by more than one-quarter of its size within 50 years. Many are calling on the government to plan for the diminishing population, and for how it will affect many of the country's cities and suburbs.</p>
September 27, 2007, 12pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"Welcome to the macabre side of ageing Japan, where growing numbers of people are dying alone, uncared for and unnoticed in suburbs that are rapidly turning grey."

"And nowhere more so than in Tokyo, the world's largest metropolis, where hostess bars and neon lights will dim in the coming decades as the population ages."

"Statistics suggest that already more than 20,000 people a year die alone in Japan -- 2 percent of all deaths."

"This figure is expected to rise as the number of senior citizens living alone soars in Japan, the world's fastest ageing society. In 2055, around 40 percent of the population will be aged 65 and over."

"The suburbs of Tokyo, built by the government to accommodate people who flocked to the capital from the countryside as Japan's population exploded in the past few decades, will be hit hard as Japan's population shrinks to an estimated 90 million in 2055 from around 127 million today."

"Experts predict that some of these suburbs of high-rise apartment complexes could become ghost-towns if the government doesn't swiftly plan for the city's grey future."

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Published on Thursday, September 20, 2007 in The Washington Post
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