Panel suggests elderly move from Tokyo
An estimated 430,000 people will not be able to receive necessary nursing care services in 2025, when people born in the first postwar baby boom will all be 75 or older, according to a trial calculation by a private expert panel.
The calculation by the Japan Policy Council (see below) also shows there will be about 130,000 people unable to receive such services in the Tokyo metropolitan area, comprising Tokyo and its three neighboring prefectures — Saitama, Chiba and Kanagawa.
In addition to emphasizing the need to secure nursing care personnel, the panel proposed that elderly people move to local areas where there are sufficient beds available at nursing facilities.
The calculations were included in a report compiled by JPC’s subcommittee, which worked out a strategy to avoid the crisis of an aging population in the Tokyo metropolitan area.
The number of beds 10 years from now was calculated based on statistics from the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry and on the assumption that the current number of nursing care beds, about 1.34 million, is the maximum possible.
The Tokyo metropolitan area has seen a comparatively mild aging of its population due to the inflow of young people from regional areas. In the future, however, the aging of its population will “rapidly progress” as the generation of the people who moved there during the period of high economic growth grows older, the panel says.
As a result, the population in need of nursing care will increase by 45 percent to 1.72 million in 2025 in the metropolitan area, causing a shortage 130,000 people.
By region, the most serious situation is anticipated in the western cities of Chiba Prefecture, including Ichikawa and Funabashi. The panel calculated there will be a shortage of 11,034 beds for nursing care. The northwestern wards of Tokyo, including Toshima, are the next in order of seriousness, with 10,047 beds forecast to be lacking.
The subcommittee also compiled a national list of places with surplus medical and nursing care capacities and recommended 41 places, including Kitakyushu and Hakodate, Hokkaido, as “areas suitable for moving to.”
“A situation may arise in which the elderly vie to enter nursing care facilities in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Moving to regional areas must be considered as an option,” JPC Chairman and former Internal Affairs and
of beds for Communications Minister Hiroya Masuda told a news conference Thursday.
However, Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa opposed the call for moving to regional areas, saying: “We’ve been making all-out efforts to provide an environment in which prefectural residents can lead a rich life even when they grow old. I don’t think that a wonderful life awaits them after leaving the prefecture.”
The strategy also calls for the Tokyo metropolitan area, where demand for medical treatment and nursing care is expected to surge, to promote cooperation and expansion of the area s for providing such services to be included in the metropolitan area. It should also deal with manpower shortages through such measures as utilizing nursing robots and setting up medical treatment bases in vacant houses, the panel said.