Daniel Halliday
Jan 28 · Last update 15 days ago.
What is behind the growing number of older people in Japan’s prisons?
This statistic has been making the news for nearly a year, but can it be explained by an ever growing ageing population, or is the Japanese welfare system really at a crisis point that makes prison a favourable reality compared to being elderly and poor in Japanese society?
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An Indicator of a failed welfare system
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A familial welfare system history in a changing society
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An Indicator of a failed welfare system

Low social spending in Japan has lead to a crippled welfare system that cannot account for or deal with the rapid rate of Japan’s ageing society. Japan spends less on social welfare than even the United States and far lower than the majority of European countries, a brutal reality for some in the world’s third largest economy. As a result of this many are falling through the gaps of what should to be a comprehensive social safety net. In this sad situation when prisoners are treated better than those on government welfare, anyone would be more likely to shoplift than to try and cope in this failing system. criticalgerontology.com/japans-ageing-prison

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A familial welfare system history in a changing society

This growing statistic is actually the result of people being left behind as a result of a historical familial welfare system in a changing society. Japan’s welfare system is not failing just a system that is no longer suited to Japan’s changing societal needs, with the combination of low birth rates, high life expectancy, rising age of marriage, and growing proportion of unmarried women, familial support is not as strong a force in Japan as it once was. The government should be trying to address the falling population or will thus need to address problems such as this by reforming welfare and care for the growing number of elderly people without the traditional familial safety net the government have come to expect.

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