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Abe Sells Elderly on Charms of Country Life to Save Economy

  • Depleted Japanese regions have unused nursing homes, hospitals
  • It's just like `granny dumping,' worries former minister
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Mayor Yukio Takano has a problem. Since 1980, the number of children in his Tokyo ward has halved while the elderly population has doubled -- and he’s running out of space to build more nursing homes in the Japanese capital’s most densely populated borough.

A possible solution: Relocate his older constituents to the countryside. It’s an audacious idea, and it’s none other than Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who is pushing it. His government sees an exodus of elderly to rural precincts as the best way of coping with Tokyo’s rapidly aging population and shrinking numbers elsewhere.