The Necessity of Shifting the Emphasis in Japanese Lifelong Learning: How to Survive in a “Super-Aged Society”


Japan has been experiencing an unprecedented demographic upheaval of rapid aging and extremely low birth rate over the last decades, together with a dwindling population. In fact, people 65 and over accounted for 25.9 percent of the population, as of 2014, and the total population is expected to fall by almost a third within the next 50 years. The nation has already reached a“super-aged society” — with more than 20% of the population over 65— and it has been seriously taking possible countermeasures to tackle the whole issue. Yet, since the problem has rooted in a large number of different factors in society accumulated for a long period of time, negative implications remain in many aspects of society. One of the most serious issues is the shrinking working-age population in the near future, if the government maintained the current retirement policies. In order to ensure a stable workforce, the role of lifelong learning should be more focused on so that it could not only update the skills of potential workforce, but also revitalize the whole society. However, most of the elderly people tend to be reluctant to participate in vocational activities, while those who are wealthy tend to enjoy non-vocational subjects for their self-interest. From an educational perspective, this paper indicates what is required to alter the attitude of the elderly and make them contribute to society. The findings suggest the necessity of shifting the current emphasis in Japanese lifelong learning in order to turn longevity into value potential.

Author Information
Naoko Suzuki, Tokushima University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2015
Stream: Adult and lifelong learning

This paper is part of the ACE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon