Japan Healthcare Age Tech
In Japan, by the year 2025, the entire generation born during the baby boom years of 1947-1949 will be 75 or older. According to current forecasts, this population is expected to reach 22 million, or one in four in Japan. At the recent Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy, the Government of Japan (GOJ) stated that starting in 2022, the growth rate of social security costs overtook previous expectations. As the population of elderly rises, the workforce continues to decrease due to an overall population decline. This so-called “2025 problem” in Japan is imminent, with concerns about sharp increases in social security costs, medical and nursing care costs, and a shortage of nursing care workers.
Despite these challenges, there are opportunities for American companies with products like nursing care beds for home use, wheelchairs, and specially-designed bathtubs. With technological advances, many of these products now implement AI to improve efficiency and care service quality. Examples of such AI technologies includes sensors that predict a patient’s health needs, monitor sleep patterns to determine the depth of sleep, and notify users of taking the correct medication on time. Many of these products are considered essential items and subject to welfare equipment rentals under the long-term care insurance (LTCI) system (Japan’s LTCI system was established to shift the burden caregiving from the immediate family and to provide long-term medical care and welfare services to certified, insured individuals).
With the COVID-19 pandemic, many companies have developed and installed remote monitoring services using digital technologies and AI in elderly care facilities and homes. These products allow family members to monitor health statuses of their family members as well, even remotely via smartphone. American companies that develop these types of health technologies, such as radar technologies that monitor heart rates, breathing, sleeping patterns, and accidents, should consider the Japanese market for export opportunities. In addition, with the growth of these innovative age-tech products, Japan’s healthcare system allows for medical research and data collection, providing more opportunities in Japan for U.S. firms involved in these research and data-collecting services.
For more information about this market opportunity in Japan, please contact the U.S. Commercial Service at Office.Tokyo@trade.gov.