Japan eyes ‘utopia’ for senior people, pets

Japan has plans to help its aging pet owners and their aging animals continue to live happy, healthy lives in their senior years.

(Photo by Alma Buelva)
(Photo by Alma Buelva)

The greying population of Japan may soon find themselves living in some kind of utopia alongside their aging pets. It is a project that is now in beta phase at two municipalities, said Yoshio Koshimura, honorary chairman of the Japan Pet Food Association (JPFA).

Project aims to extend happy lives for pets and their owners

The special senior community project looks at how to keep old people and old pets living happy lives longer. Japanese people in their 50s and 60s represent the biggest number of pet owners. Japan's current dog population is 8.9 million and 56% of these dogs are believed to be seniors. This creates a big market for age-specific dog food, said Koshimura at the sidelines of this year's Interpets fair in Tokyo, Japan.

Among all the nations in the world Japan is the most health conscious, with medical expenditures in 2018 reaching ¥42 trillion (US$392.4million), said Koshimura, who also said that the Japanese people believe pets can help diminish their owners' existing or potential health problems.

Data from the United Nations estimates Japan's population to be nearly 127 million. Currently, those over 65 years old account for 28% of the population. By 2055, the silver generation will make up 41% of the total population.

Koshimura said Japan's 2018 pet market size reached US$14 billion, based on data from market solution provider Yano Keizai.

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