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Economy

Japan crosses new aging milestone, with 20% now 70 or older

Abe signals shift in priorities to easing labor shortages

People stroll through Tokyo's Sugamo neighborhood, nicknamed the "Harajuku for grandmas" in reference to the trendy shopping district.

TOKYO -- As new estimates put the number of people in Japan age 70 or older at more than a fifth of the population for the first time, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is signaling a renewed focus on contending with the economic impact of an aging labor force.

The 70-and-over segment of the population grew to an estimated 26.18 million, or 20.7%, the Ministry of Internal Affairs reported Sunday. That marks an increase of 1 million from last year, driven by baby boomers born from 1947 to 1949.

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