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Japan population shrinks as elderly make up a quarter

Japan's population has shrunk for the third year running, with the elderly making up a quarter of the total for the first time, government data showed on Tuesday. The number of people in the world's third largest economy dropped by 0.17 percent or 217,000 people, to 127,298,000 as of October 1 last year, the data said. This figure includes long-staying foreigners. The number of people aged 65 or over rose by 1.1 million to 31.9 million, accounting for 25.1 percent of the population, it said.

Survey: Americans less worried about retirement compared to those in parts of Europe and Asia

WASHINGTON - A new study finds that people in nations where the population is aging less swiftly, such as the U.S, are less likely to be worried about their old-age futures than those in parts of Europe and East Asia that are grappling with swiftly shrinking workforces and increasing pension costs. The survey by the Pew Research Center covers 21 nations. Changes in the world's demographics "could alter the distribution of global economic power over the coming decades," Rakesh Kochhar, a senior researcher at Pew, said Thursday.

Massachusetts teen dies of rare aging disease

BOSTON (Reuters) - A Massachusetts teenager who became a well-known face of the premature aging disease progeria has died, his family confirmed online. Sam Berns, of Foxborough, Massachusetts, died on Friday at 17 years old, according to a statement posted on the website of the Progeria Research Foundation. Children with the rare disease live on average 13 years before succumbing to the genetic condition, which gives them the appearance of accelerated aging.

Japan sees fewer newborn babies in 2013

Japan's population is expected to have declined further in 2013, with the estimated number of newborn babies in the country totaling 1,031,000, down about 6,000 from a year earlier, according to health ministry estimates released Tuesday. The estimated number of people who died in 2013 totaled 1,275,000, up about 19,000 from the previous year. As a result, the natural population decline, calculated by deducting the number of deaths from that of births, came to a record 244,000.

The most vulnerable retirees struggle to survive even with government help

It isn't the retirement George Warren dreamed of. Confined to a wheelchair and living on disability payments after losing his job, Warren, 63, figures he would be homeless in old age if not for a senior housing program offered by Catholic Charities of Maryland. "I had plans, but life had other plans for me," he says.

Grand travel in retirement doesn't come cheap

By Beth Pinsker NEW YORK (Reuters) - When it comes to dreaming about retirement, travel is often at the top of the agenda. And by this, people don't just mean a trip or two over what could be a span of 30 or more years. The ultimate fantasy is an itinerary like Kembell Huyke's, which includes going to Africa on safari seven times. In the next year, the retired 73-year-old banker, who is based in New York, has trips planned to Tunisia, Morocco and southern India.

Gov't to expand support for firms introducing wage peak system

SEOUL, Dec. 17 (Yonhap) -- Starting next year, the government will pay more incentives to firms introducing a wage peak system in an effort to reduce their financial burden caused by extending the retirement age of their workers under a new law, the labor ministry said Tuesday. The plan is a key part of a revised enforcement decrfee to the employment and labor law which was approved by the Cabinet that day, the ministry said. In South Korea, no parliamentary endorsement is required for the revision of an enforcement decree.

Older people may be less tired: study

By Kathleen Raven NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Senior citizens reported feeling less tired than younger people, including teenagers, in a new U.S. study. To the researchers' surprise, 15- to 24-year-olds - the youngest people in their study - said they felt the most fatigued of all during daily activities. The difference between the two age groups was almost one full point on a scale of 0 to 6, with 6 representing "very tired."

A holiday reading list for the retiree on your list

By Mark Miller CHICAGO (Reuters) - Now that the baby boomer age wave is crashing ashore, Americans are retiring by the boatload. About 10,000 of us will turn 65 every day for the next 17 years, the Pew Research Center tells us. If someone on your gift list is hitting the beach this holiday season, a little guidance is in order - and that's a stocking-stuffer opportunity. Here's a list of recommended reading on some key issues facing retirees, distilled from my ever-more-crowded bookcase full of volumes on the topic.

S. Korea's life expectancy inches up in 2012: report

SEJONG, Dec. 5 (Yonhap) -- The average life expectancy of babies born in 2012 rose slightly from a year earlier, a government report showed Thursday, apparently on improving medical services. Babies born last year were expected to live an average of 81.4 years, up from 81.2 years tallied in 2011, according to the report by Statistics Korea. The figure represents a marked increase from just 61.9 years in 1970 and also from 77 years in 2002.
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