The total number of Japanese people aged 90 and older has topped 2 million for the first time, with a record 7.70 million people aged 65 and older earning wages in some fashion, according to the latest population estimate released Sunday by the government.
The data, released ahead of Monday’s Respect-for-the-Aged Day, are the clearest demonstration yet of the rapid graying of a nation where more people of retirement age remain gainfully employed amid a shrinking population.
The number of people aged 90 or older stood at 120,000 in Japan in 1980 and has been on the rise since, reaching 1.02 million in 2004. As of Sept. 15, 2017, the population of the age group had doubled to 2.06 million, up 140,000 from a year earlier.
Meanwhile, the number of elderly people — defined as those aged 65 or older — who have jobs increased to a record 7.70 million in 2016, up 380,000 from the previous year, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry. They now account for 11.9 percent of those employed in the country.
Among elderly workers, 3.01 million, or 39 percent, were part-time workers or other types of non-regular employees, a 2.5-fold rise from 2006, according to the data.
“Elderly people are eager to work and more companies are accepting them,” a ministry official in charge of the statistics said.
The total number of the elderly people grew to a record 35.14 million, up 570,000 from a year earlier and making up 27.7 percent of the country’s total population.
The proportion of elderly people in the population was the highest among the Group of Seven major countries, followed by Italy at 23.0 percent and Germany at 21.5 percent.