On July 14, 2008, Cabinet Office and Japan NGO Council on Ageing (JANCA) co-sponsored “Seminar on an Aging Society 2008.” This annual seminar series started in 1999, the Year of Older Persons, and this year marks the 10th anniversary.
The theme of this year’s seminar was “Seniors Becoming Community Resources,” which emphasized senior citizens’ social participation and their relationships with local communities. The following is a summary of the seminar.
Co-sponsor’s Greeting: Ms. Keiko Higuchi (Co-Chairperson, JANCA; Representative, The Women’s Association for the Better Aging Society)
I am very glad that the theme of this seminar links “community resources” and “senior citizens.” It is also such a timely theme.
How do we pronounce “local community” in more Japanese way? It is “Ro-Ka-Ru Ko-Mi-Ni-Chi.” Let’s put a Chinese character for each syllable. The character for “the elderly” can be pronounced “Ro.” The character for “being able to” is pronounced “Ka,” and we can put the character “stay” for “Ru.” Now what do we have? “Older persons should be able to stay where they are.” That is, each older person should be able to choose a place to live and stay there as long as they like. Older persons should live in the community with a number of different generations.
Keynote Speech: “Dear Senior Citizens, Let’s Become Resources for the Community.” Mr. Tsutomu Hotta (Co-Chairperson, JANCA; President, Sawayaka Welfare Foundation)
This year, I would like to encourage senior citizens to participate in the society so that they can become resources for the community. In other words, I would like us to realize “Ro-Ka-Ru Ko-Mi-Ni-Chi.” How can older persons prepare themselves for social participation? How can they utilize themselves and contribute to the society? I would like to take a step further on these issues. Older persons can participate in social activities so that they can create a better society for themselves. However, I would rather say that they should use their skills and experiences to benefit all the people in the society. Young and middle-aged persons are the ones who will create the future society, and older persons should think about how they can support younger generations. This is the main message I would like to send today.