TOKYO, Japan - The number of Japanese aged 65 and older totaled a record-high 36.17 million as of this month, up 300,000 from a year earlier, government data showed Sunday.
The elderly accounted for 28.7 percent of Japan's population, up 0.3 point, also hitting a record, according to the data by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications prior to Monday's Respect for the Aged Day holiday.
The ratio of seniors remained well above the 23.3 percent in Italy, the second most aged society, followed by 22.8 percent in Portugal.
The National Institute of Population and Social Security Research projects that Japan's elderly will make up 35.3 percent by 2040, underscoring the rapid aging of the population.
According to the ministry, the number of Japanese men aged 65 and older stood at 15.73 million, while that of women came to 20.44 million.
The ratio of seniors with jobs increased for the 16th consecutive year as the country faced a deepening labor shortage. Of the 8.92 million seniors with jobs, 5.31 million were men and 3.61 million were women.
The biggest employer of seniors was the wholesale and retail industry with 1.26 million elderly workers, followed by agriculture and forestry with 1.08 million.