Change: Retirement in Japan and the Resulting Challenges for Japanese Adult Education
The population of Japan is aging faster than any other country in the world. By the year 2020, one in every four people in Japan will be 65 years or older. Because of this demographic shift in society, a new era is emerging that will see far-reaching changes in adult educational initiatives. As this post-World War II generation retires from the workforce, these retirees and older adults of Japan must meet the challenge of living productive and active lives for a possible twenty to thirty years beyond retirement. Many are healthy and active, and want to continue to participate in educational or lifelong learning activities and to enjoy new leisure pastimes and hobbies. They are self-reliant and do not want to become burdens to their families or society. As one of the most education-conscious countries in the world, one way that Japan must meet the challenge of this aging population is by expanding adult education programs. These programs must meet the needs and goals of retirees and older adults and must assist them in transitioning and adjusting to the challenge of continuing to learn, of maintaining a high quality of life, of achieving self-fulfillment, of remaining active, and of being a contributing member of society. Meeting the challenge of change is a significant opportunity for both aging individuals and providers of adult education in the future.