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Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Where goeth Japan - the UK is likely to follow

Japan has a “respect for the aged” day (not something you are likely to find in the UK). To mark this occasion the government gives each citizen, who turned 100 in the previous year, a silver sake cup – that’s about 200,000 people.

This year things have changed and instead of the sake cup having 94g of silver it has been reduced to 63g. Japan is experiencing hard times and the old are not immune.

I guess the equivalent in the UK is sending the centenarian a postcard from Gordon Brown when they were expecting a letter from the queen.

The article goes on to detail the issues facing Japan as its population ages, combined with the country’s enormous budget deficit. A situation that is exactly the same as the UK faces in the coming years.

I am not sure if you can still access the article (the FT is a subscription service) but it is well written and gives you a real feel of life will be like in the UK in the coming decade.

This is the first of a series of FT insights into Japan’s ageing population and how the country is reacting. Dick Stroud

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