BUS343: International Marketing
Japan: Final Paper With populations the world over growing older and birth rates declining, the demand for elderly care and assistance will only gain more momentum. Caring for the elderly is not just limited to medical care. There are great numbers of seniors that have become shut-ins and recluses because they have no immediate family to provide for them and most of their friends have passed on or are incapacitated themselves. While social services have increased, they have not closed the gap that will only continue to widen if something is not done to stem the tide. In Japan, where the population is growing older and living longer than ever before, social and medical services are in high demand.
Specialized social and medical assistance care is certainly a developing need in Japan. The primary service to be provided is social care for seniors, specifically those that are left home alone during the day while their caretakers are working. Multiple options and levels of care would be available. The customer can be dropped off or shuttled to one of the associated adult day centers that would provide a myriad of activities. For those that may prefer more personal treatment, an aide can be dispatched to their home to provide companionship during the day or assist them in daily outings. For those customers whose health is not in the best condition, assistance in getting to doctor’s appointments or a home visit by medical personnel would also be offered. This service is not intended to replace full medical care or be an assisted living or a nursing home alternative but to rather increase the social support for a growing demographic that still desires to be useful to society.
The rationale for providing such social services as elderly care in Japan is that the 65 years old and over demographic is the fastest growing segment of the population in that country. The 65+ age bracket has increased 3.8% from 2005 to 2011 while all other age demographics for the country have dropped and continue to do so according to the UN. Those elderly are also becoming less active and need more care than in previous years. In 2012, only “55.6 percent of the elderly respondents said they can walk long distances alone, down from 72.9 percent in summer 2011. The proportion of people needing personal care rose to 1.8 percent from zero percent. Those who said they lie down during the day grew to 8.9 percent from 3.0 percent” (Jiji Press, 2013). Keeping this demographic active and able to contribute is fast becoming necessary as the cost of caring for those that are unable to care for themselves begins to increase and becomes a drain on the current and future society.
Japan has a very high context culture with a lot of emphasis on being part of a group, collectivism rather than individualism. The culture is very formal with many traditions and shows great respect for their elders. “Japan has had a long tradition of three generations (parents, eldest son and wife and grandchildren) living together in one household. In the past, informal care by the family - mainly the eldest son and his wife - was the main source of care for the elderly in Japan” (Ito, 2008). However, young people are migrating from rural areas to the urban centers and it is becoming more common for women to enter the workforce as well. This may permanently change this long standing tradition and alter the social interactions of the elderly with their supporting younger generations. “Japan is a centralized, unitary state with a highly homogeneous population and a tradition of powerful state intervention in the economy, including its many health insurance plans” (Rodwin). While Japan has a national insurance system, the contributors into the system are becoming fewer as those that are dependent on it are growing in number. “In Japan, every person has had to belong to