Exploring the contribution of Japan's experience in addressing rapid aging in Asia: Focus on dementia care

Glob Health Med. 2024 Feb 29;6(1):19-32. doi: 10.35772/ghm.2023.01124.


This review article explores the potential contribution of Japan's experience in addressing rapid aging in Asia with a specific focus on dementia care. As Japan is a frontrunner in terms of aging society, we consider valuable insights and lessons from Japanese policy history and reflect on its contribution. The World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Western Pacific Regional Action Plan on Healthy Ageing for the Western Pacific was compared with the Japanese "Outline for Promotion of Dementia Policies". The following five issues were discussed: i) improving awareness of dementia and community engagement in Japan from a mutual aid perspective; ii) social activities for prevention of dementia at the local level; iii) human resources for medical and long-term care; iv) local coordinators for old people care at home to evaluate the needs for care and tailor the care-plan on an individual basis; v) research and development of long-term care products. Given these factors, it is important to address the aging society through a combined cross-sectoral approach, including policy, research, development of care products, community, and education of care workers. Aging population measures in Japan do not provide a definitive answer, which prompts the consideration of better solutions derived from Japan's trial and error. The aging rate of 7%, 14%, and 21% are commonly used in international comparisons as indicators of the speed of the aging process, but before this 7% is reached, policies tailored to each country should be considered.

Keywords: Japan; healthy aging; long-term care; policy.

Publication types

  • Review