The World’s Real Time Laboratory for Age-Tech
Japan has the most aged population of any country in the world. Declining birth rates and high life expectancy have resulted in a high and rapidly growing proportion of the population being aged 65+, with projections of 40% by
2050. These developments are proving to be an enormous burden on Japan’s economy and society, as dwindling tax revenues and a shortage of healthcare and semi-skilled care workers fail to meet the rising demand for medical and
ageing care. Yet Japan’s “silver tsunami” crisis also presents an unmistakable opportunity for technological innovation. At the intersection of ageing and technology, so-called Age-Tech products and services solve a variety
of needs and challenges faced by those who are ageing, and also by those who care for them (whether professional or family caregivers). Age-Tech encompasses a wide range of solutions, from simple wearables for health tracking
to robotic exo-skeletons that aid mobility, to social companionship solutions for ageing households, and beyond. With all this in mind, at The Carter Group we define Age-Tech as technologies and services built to improve the
lives and wellbeing of ageing people and their caregivers.
In addition to Japan being the third largest consumer market in the world and the world’s largest AGEING market, Japanese people aged 65+:
■ Enjoy one of the longest lifespans of any country
■ Are more physically active for longer (and thus enjoy high quality of life, even while ageing); many continue to work well into their 70s
■ Engage actively in learning new skills, and with hobbies and sports
■ Possess higher purchasing power than their younger counterparts
■ Are open-minded in their search for solutions that can help them meet their needs
In addition, on the business to-business (B2B) side of the equation, governments, hospitals, assisted living and nursing facilities, and other major stakeholders are hungry for innovations to help meet the growing demand for
social services. Population aging is not exclusive to Japan. However, as the world’s most aged society, it is a crucial testing ground and offers a very favorable environment for global Age-Tech players. In short, Japan is
the world’s best natural laboratory for Age-Tech development. This White Paper highlights the huge opportunity for global AgeTech in Japan, and will hopefully spark engagement with this high potential market.
Japan will continue to age well into the next few decades, with no end in sight. Although Age-Tech won’t solve the ageing population crisis, it can reduce many of its associated negative outcomes – and certainly, Age-Tech can
provide a range of solutions to help Japan’s ageing population to live independently at home safely for as long as practically possible. Governments, service providers, and consumer households are actively seeking ways of reducing
costs and labor through technological innovations. Opportunities abound along the full spectrum of ageing and ageing support – everything from health tracking devices that can help slow the progression of lifestyle illnesses
(and thereby reduce public and private medical costs) to automation of selected caregiving tasks that alleviate shortages in both family and professional caregivers.
© CarterJMRN 2023, Tokyo, All Rights Reserved