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Deutsches Institut für Japanstudien

Adult Guardianship in Japan

 January 2007 - October 2015

Japan is one of the most rapidly ageing societies in the world. With an ageing ratio of 22.57 per cent (as of 2010), every fifth citizen is aged 65 years or older. According to estimates from the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research, the ratio will reach 33.7 per cent in 2035 and 40.5 per cent in 2055.

The growing elderly population, the increase in the number of nuclear families as well as one- and two-person elderly households, the high rates of female labour force participation and low fertility rates are primary factors responsible for the decline of family care giving for persons with disabilities or dementia. Currently, approximately 2 million seniors in Japan are said to be suffering from dementia. Including persons with mental handicaps or psychological disorders, the population of those incapable of managing their own affairs reaches an estimated 5 million people.

Foreseeing this development, a new adult guardianship system was introduced in 2000, replacing the old adult guardianship systems based on declaring a person incompetent or quasi-incompetent which had been in effect since 1898 without major changes thereafter. This project analyses the utilization of the new legal guardianship system in Japan. A further focus of interest in this context will be the recruiting of citizens as volunteer guardians in comparison to German legal guardianship.


September 29, 2010
Symposia and Conferences


Junko Ando (until November 2015)