Malaysia can learn from Japan in managing an aging population

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KUALA LUMPUR: With the number of people over 65 in Malaysia set to triple from the current two million to over six million by 2040, Malaysia needs to learn from Japan how to manage its aging population.

Japan’s Ambassador to Malaysia, Katsuhiko Takahashi, said Japan, which already has a huge aging population, wants to share its experience and expertise in population management with the aim of improving the quality of life of the population. society.

Takahashi told the Chairman of the Malaysian National News Agency (Bernama), Senator Datuk Ras Adiba Radzi, at his headquarters during a courtesy call here on Monday June 27.

Ras Adiba had asked the ambassador what Malaysia could learn from Japan’s experience in dealing with its aging citizens who are expected to make up 35.3% of the country’s population by 2040.

“The issue of the aging population is a variable that I really want to explore on how we can work together. Therefore, I would like to encourage that we pay attention to this aspect of working together because we can give you our successes and our failures in managing population aging over the past 50 years.

Continuing to elaborate, the envoy said, “Aging is not always limited to healthcare; Malaysia still has more room to improve on this.

“As far as the aging population is concerned, according to World Bank statistics, you are 50 years younger than Japan. I think the percentage of aging in Malaysian society today is like when Japan was in 1972.

“Life expectancy in Malaysia today is also the same as in Japan 40 years ago. So is your gross domestic product (GDP) per capita.

“Malaysia is developing in the right direction. Thinking back on these facts, let’s work together on this aspect to avoid any problems, which we (Japan) have had for 40 years. Compared to the number of years, now you have the possibility improvement,” he said.

Asked about other potential cooperation Malaysia and Japan have been working on, especially after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s working visit to Japan in May, Takahashi said the two governments have made progress in many areas. new areas of cooperation, as discussed and agreed throughout the visit. .

“It is still early for us to share the results, but through communications between the ministries in charge of trade and investment, as well as disaster risk management, we are currently trying to propose more specific actions to take on the basis of the agreement made by the two prime ministers,” he said.

Last month, Ismail Sabri, in talks with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, agreed to intensify cooperation in areas such as energy, smart city, environment and climate change.

Japan has also been Malaysia’s fourth largest trading partner since 2015. The value of trade in 2021 was $35.9 billion, an increase of around 20% from $29.6 billion in 2020. .

Takahashi said Malaysia and Japan have enjoyed excellent bilateral relations since the establishment of the Malaysian Look East policy four decades ago.

“When we think about how the 40-year relationship between Malaysia and Japan should progress, I think we should no longer be in the image of the traditional giver and receiver or, rather, giver and receiver” , did he declare. – Bernama

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