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일본 인구의 고령화와 가족 : Aging Population and Changing Family in Japan: Its Implications for Elderly Care

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서울대학교 지역종합연구소
지역연구, Vol.04 No.2, pp. 53-77
This paper examines the case of Japan in the aspects of family support for the elderly, arising out of the aging population and changing family.

In Japanese society rapid demographic aging has been taking place primarily as a result of continuous declines in fertility. In 1994, the rate of population growth had reached 0.29% which is the lowest record and the proportion of elderly persons (aged 65 and over) accounted for 13.9% of total population, and is projected to be the highest in the world in the year 2000. As Japanese population has aged, the family underwent a gradual transformation. Empirical observations confirmed that the nature and functions of families have changed and the decline in the co-residential multi-generational family was also evident.

Rapid aging and changes in family structure in Japanese society have resulted in a higher burden of small family for the elderly support and consequently in a substantial shift in emphasis between social programmes, causing a significant change in the share of social expenditure going to the older age groups. However, Japanese governmental policy assesses the importance of family as a dominant provider of elderly care, and to that end, the government gradually implements policies, such as home based care, designed to maintain or even strengthen the role of the family in care for the elderly.
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