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Japan social welfare spending to rise 60% by 2040

First forecast of its kind shows aging nation faces 2.4-fold nursing cost surge

Over half of Japanese residents age 85 and older require long-term care. (Photo by Takaki Kashiwabara)

TOKYO -- Japan will spend nearly one-fourth of gross domestic product on social welfare in fiscal 2040, according to the government's first-ever projections for that year, with nursing care expenditures to more than double as a shrinking working-age population struggles with the cost of caring for the elderly.

Annual outlays on programs including medical and nursing care, pensions and child care are projected to reach 190 trillion yen ($1.7 trillion) that year, up roughly 60% from fiscal 2018, according to estimates presented on Monday to the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. 

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