2018 Volume 73 Issue 2 Pages 35-49
Up to the present, in Japan, aging ratios of municipalities in metropolitan areas have tended to be lower than those in small municipalities (10,000 inhabitants and few) in non-metropolitan areas. However, these ratios have begun to rise, especially in the Tokyo metropolitan area, with a less conspicuous rise in the Osaka and Nagoya metropolitan areas. Conversely, the rising ratios of aging population in small municipalities in non-metropolitan areas have somewhat weakened. Owing to the decreasing presence of the first-term aging population (those aged 65–74 years) small municipalities have emerged wherein increasing ratios of the latter-term aging population (age 75 and above) outstrip those of the first-term.
Analysis of the movement of aging populations in the central cities in the Chugoku region of western Japan shows that areas of movement connect aging populations in small municipalities in line with the scale of their centrality. Many among the first-term aging population move from neighboring large cities into small municipalities, and those in the latter-term aging population move out into the neighboring cities to live together with their adult sons or daughters or in homes for the aged. However, such a phenomenon does not exist in satellite cities in the Tokyo metropolitan area, where not only many first-term but also latter-term aging populations move from the Tokyo 23 wards to satellite cities. As a result, aging ratios in these satellite cities are becoming higher than in the Tokyo 23 wards, posing severe challenges for facilities for older persons.
In the future, the aging population in the Tokyo 23 wards will increasingly move to more distant municipalities. It will then be better for younger and wealthier peoples to move out to more distant places from their work, before their retirement, and in early stages of aging to bolster Japan's continuing care retirement communities. Considering that the aging population will decrease in the future in small municipalities in non-metropolitan areas in Japan, it appears preferable to strengthen central functions by enhancing facilities for the aging population in neighboring cities.