October 3, 2008
The Silver Market Phenomenon: Business Opportunities and Responsibilities in the Ageing Society, United Nations University, Tokyo
Keynote Speech: The best way to predict the future in the mature market
Japan has the most rapidly aging society on the globe - and also has the highest percentage of elderly people in the world, with 22% of the population over 65. The AARP (a US organization), as well as a number of other businesses and associations, are all looking to Japan. Why? How Japan deals with her aging society will likely become a model for other countries. Changes in the social system, including reform of the pension scheme, are one issue that is attracting attention from overseas. Similarly, the revision of the Employment Security of Older Persons Act, as well as the Nursing Care Insurance System, are also of interest. In Japan, many have pointed out the various problems at hand, but until now only Japan has made such provisions. It is only natural that many countries who will soon have aging societies will focus on these policies. Second, Japanese products and services for the elderly have drawn attention from around the world. There are many examples, from software for keeping the brain fit to cellular phones for the elderly, direct-sales living assistance magazines, travel planning for the elderly, nursing care robots, toilets with automatic flushing capability for the disabled, "Silver Resource Centers" that employ the elderly, and other businesses designed with the participation of the elderly in mind. All these initiatives are becoming models for many other countries, and could become a new form of international contribution for Japan. The important thing is to not limit ourselves to armchair theorizing, but to continue creating products and businesses.

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