Tsunami recovery has inflamed the generational war in Japan
News On Japan via businessinsider.com -- Aug 07
Many in Japan were taken aback recently by the news that, for the first time since 1985, Japanese women have lost their crown as the world's longest-living people--their average life expectancy fell to 85.9 years in 2011, just under a year less than the women of Hong Kong.
People were even more crestfallen at the news that this was largely caused by the death toll from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in north-eastern Japan. It was a reminder of how disproportionately the disaster had hit the elderly in this ageing corner of the planet. Of almost 18,800 dead and missing, 56% were over 65.
Ageing is taking its toll on the reconstruction process, too. In towns along the coast, officials say they have encountered a "generation gap" that is hampering their efforts to rebuild. Simply put, older people, aware of their relatively short remaining lifespan, want to restore what they lost as soon as possible. Meanwhile, young families want revitalised communities with more people, jobs and social freedoms. In miniature, it is a problem faced across the country. An elderly population, richer, more risk-averse and more powerful than the young, is also more resistant to change.
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