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News > Japan

68,000 Japanese Elderly To Die Alone in Their Homes This Year

  • Elderly people do exercises in Japan.

    Elderly people do exercises in Japan. | Photo: X/ @HasPopEU

Published 15 May 2024

At least 21,716 "lonely deaths" occurred in the Asian country between January and March.

The National Police Agency of Japan estimates that around 68,000 people over the age of 65 could die alone in their homes this year if the current trend of these deaths continues.


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At least 21,716 "lonely deaths" occurred in the Asian country between January and March, of which 17,034 - or 78 percent - were individuals over 65 years old, according to statistics revealed this week and collected by the national news agency Kyodo.

By extrapolating these figures annually, and considering the rapid aging of the Japanese population, as well as the increasing number of people living alone, it is estimated that up to 68,000 elderly individuals could die isolated in their homes annually.

While other agencies had previously collected data on "isolated deaths" in Japan, this is the first time that they have been compiled by the country's police, as part of a working group created in 2023 by the Japanese government to study the situation of isolated citizen deaths.

The National Police report will help advance support for people living and aging alone in Japan, a country where 10.8 out of 124 million inhabitants will be elderly living alone by 2050.

This reality will be experienced in one-fifth of Japanese households, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

For now, many of the elderly living without company have children or other relatives who can take care of them. Over the next 30 years, however, it is estimated that the number of lonely elderly individuals without descendants will decrease.

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