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A South Korean man tends to his cart near Seoul's Pagoda Park on Jan. 26. Some older residents eke out a living by collecting paper and other trash. (Photo by Jean Chung)
Asia Insight

No country for old Koreans: Moon faces senior poverty crisis

Modern families and meager pensions push up elderly suicide rate

KIM JAEWON, Nikkei staff writer | South Korea

SEOUL -- At age 70, Son is not asking for much. The Seoul resident just wishes he had 10,000 won, or about $9, to live on per day. "That's all I want," he said.

His daily ritual is to head to the South Korean capital's Pagoda Park, where he and his friends buy 2,500 won bowls of cow blood soup for lunch. "I think it's the cheapest in the country," said Son, who gave only his surname. "Afterward, we go for 200 won coffee."

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