August 31, 2020 at 12:53 AM EDT
Japan has the world’s oldest population. Yet it dodged a coronavirus crisis at elder-care facilities.
CHIKAWA, Japan — Ninety-one-year-old Hiroko Tsukamoto washes her hands seven times a day and disinfects them before every meal.
She watches the news attentively, tracking every twist and turn of Japan’s battle against the novel coronavirus.
“I can’t wait for all of this to be over. The sooner the better,” said Tsukamoto, who moved into a residential care home just outside Tokyo a month ago.
Japan has the world’s oldest population, with an average age of 47 and a life expectancy of more than 81 years. More than 28 percent of its residents are over the age of 65, ahead of Italy in second place with 23 percent, and compared with 16 percent of Americans.
It could have been sitting on a coronavirus disaster, with the pandemic hitting seniors particularly hard, especially those in group facilities.
By Simon Denyer and Akiko Kashiwagi