North-East Asia is the fastest ageing subregion in the world. While population ageing in itself is a phenomenon and not a "problem", if the current speed and scale of population ageing in North-East Asia is not matched by timely adjustment of various support systems and establishment of enabling environment for older persons, the subregion could face a new challenge of rising poverty and widening socio-economic inequalities among the growing elderly population.
The challenges for creating a "society for all" are many and diverse. For example, there is a need to: review social protection schemes, including pension and healthcare systems; plan national labour force for the long-term; develop (new) industries for future economic growth; support research in science and technology for assistive devices and medical advancement; increase professional as well as informal caregivers; regulate commercial goods and services with older consumers in mind; increase safe and appropriate housing for older persons; provide age-friendly transportation; and enable long-term care of older persons by the family, community and care institutions.
The international community adopted the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) in 2002 as a comprehensive policy guideline for ageing societies across the world. The present North-East Asian subregional meeting in Tokyo will contribute to the Asia-Pacific regional progress review on MIPAA by gathering 19 experts from five North-East Asian member States to discuss common challenges and policy recommendations for creating sustainable ageing societies in the subregion and beyond.