Welfare : We are worried about the future of the welfare system.

▶ There are various welfare systems in Japan. All Japanese people must have a health insurance plan and a pension plan.

▶ Working people in Japan pay a monthly fee to a health insurance plan. Many plans cover 70 (seventy) to 90% (ninety percent) of medical costs. Pension plans also require a monthly fee. But with the aging society, many people are worried about the future of these plans.

▶ The biggest problem for the Japanese welfare system today is the aging society. To deal with this, for example, a nursing care insurance plan for old people was made by the government in the year 2000 (two thousand).

Social Security

Social security in Japan consists of social welfare, social insurance, livelihood assistance, health sanitation and unemployment benefits. The national health insurance system started in 1961, and it basically covers all Japanese. About 60% of the population are covered by employee health insurance and the rest are covered by national health insurance. The old age pension system covers about 70 million people in Japan. The total social welfare benefit in 2012 amounted to about 109 trillion yen, 7.2 times that of 1975. About 50% of the expenditure was spent on the elderly.

Public Nursing Care Insurance

The Japanese government started a public nursing care insurance system in April, 2000. People qualified under this system can receive care services such as nursing and rehabilitation at home, and day care or short stays at care houses. People over 40 years of age bear any additional expenses not covered by their public health insurance. One issue with this insurance is controversy over the methods used to judge the degree of care necessary.

Aged Society

The combined average life expectancy for the Japanese males and females is the highest in the world. In 2012, the rate was 86.4 years for females and 79.9 years for males. These rates have grown amazingly over the last 80 years. Neither women nor men were expected to live past 50 in 1935. But senior citizens (people over 65) made up 25% of the population in 2013. Together with the declining number of young people, Japan has entered an era of having an “aged society.” It is estimated that senior citizens will make up 40% of the population by the year 2050.