May 12 2021 More than 30 percent of Japanese people aged 60 and over do not have close friends, highlighting the loneliness of older Japanese, according to a survey by the Cabinet Office.
This is the conclusion of an international comparative survey conducted by the Cabinet Office between December last year and January this year. The survey involved about 5,000 people aged 60 and over in Japan, Germany, Sweden and the United States, including 1,367 in Japan.
Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported On the 12th, citing the results of the survey, 31.3 percent of Japanese surveyed said they had no close friends, far higher than the United States, Germany and Sweden. The proportion of elderly people in the three countries who consider themselves unfriendly is 14.2%, 13.5% and 9.9%, respectively.
When asked about their interactions with their neighbors, 20 percent of elderly Japanese said they would discuss things with their neighbors, but only 5 percent would help each other when they or their partner became ill, a lower percentage than the other three countries.
In addition, 59 percent of older Americans surveyed said they used e-mail or phone more frequently to communicate with the outside world than they did before the outbreak, the highest proportion among the four countries, compared with 26 percent in Japan.
According to Kyodo, the survey shows that the lives of older Japanese people show a lack of intimate social interaction outside the home. As society ages, Kyodo suggests that measures should be put in place as soon as possible to prevent the elderly from falling into loneliness.