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Japan’s Growing Elderly Population Raises Delicate Questions of Care


As reported by Marketplace yesterday, Japan is facing an acute crisis of long-term care. Japan is the oldest country in the world by percentage, with a falling birthrate and a rising dilemma: Who will care for the nation’s elderly?

Tapping the foreign labor pool could be one solution, but Japan is historically wary of strangers, and only 1.5 percent of the Japanese population are immigrants. Those in nursing homes express concerns over the ability of outsiders to navigate the complex cultural and communication tasks that would accompany accepting more immigrant workers to Japanese elder care.

Instead, the Japanese are exploring robot care. The functionality of one prototype, ROBEAR is certainly still questionable, but it’s a solution many seem willing to entertain.

Source. Marketplace. Japan’s long-term care dilemma: Immigrants or robots?