Panel sug­gests el­derly move from Tokyo

The China Post - - COMMENTARY -

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.

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