Over recent years I have observed and reflected on the changing lifestyle of senior citizens in Japan. 

It is well known that Japan has both a rapidly ageing population and some of the highest life expectancy rates in the world.

While this is commonly attributed to a healthy diet, exercise, high standard of living and superior health care I believe lifestyle and attitude are playing an increasingly important role in the healthy ageing of Japan’s senior citizens.

Many, upon coming to the end of their working life and reaching retirement age, are embracing the concept of ‘second life’ as they reenter the workforce, volunteer or use their skills to help in rural and urban communities. Add to this, learning new languages, domestic and international travel, walking, hiking and myriad other hobbies and pastimes and it is little wonder that Japan’s senior citizens are reaping the benefits from their ‘second lives’.

Of course this is not unique to Japan and I see similar initiatives developing in Australia, as senior citizens adopt more active roles and lifestyles in  retirement. However, I do believe Japan is leading the way in this positive trend that stands to benefit not just senior citizens but society as a whole.

This contribution was submitted by Len Scanlan who has been a member of the AJS-Q for more than 40 years, serving on the Executive Committee during the terms of two Presidents.

The Scanlan family’s association with Japan spans three generations. Len was encouraged by his father, a WWII veteran, to study Japanese and one of his sons has lived and worked in Japan. 

Len studied Japanese at IML and the University of Queensland and first visited Japan in 1976. He has continued to travel to Japan over the past 40 years through his role on the Executive Committee of Queensland Youth Exchange Association (facilitating homestays and training for young Japanese and Australians), to research Japanese auditing practices, and also for leisure.

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