* Third Monday in September Keiro no hi - Respect for the Aged Day
Today is Respect for the Aged Day, which was instituted in 1966, on this day City Halls throughout Japan hold ceremonies of thanks for senior citizens and various events for old people are staged across the country. I once saw a football tournament in Kyoto on this day involving players who looked to range in age from 75 to about 90. It was amazing to see them in their pristine soccer jerseys "warming up".
The "graying" of Japanese society is a well known phenomenon. The number of Japanese aged 65 or above has reached a record 24.31 million, accounting for 19 percent of the population in 2005 - the highest among industrialized nations. The number of men aged 65 or over in Japan is estimated at 10.26 million - 16.5 percent of the male population, while women over 65 number 14.05 million, or 21.5 percent of all females, according to government figures.
The number of Japanese people aged 100 or older is projected to reach a record 25,606 by the end of September 2005, with women making up 85 percent of the total.
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Monday, September 19, 2005