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Nagano Pref. cities propose redefining senior citizens as '75 or older,' up from 65

Nagano Mayor Hisao Kato speaks in a news conference at the city hall on Sept. 21, 2018. (Mainichi)

NAGANO -- People under the age of 75 here and in the Nagano Prefecture city of Matsumoto will no longer be considered "senior citizens" if a proposal to redefine the term is adopted.

The two central Japan municipal governments on Sept. 21 announced a proposal to change the definition of senior citizens from people aged "65 years or above" to those "75 years or older."

The municipalities hope to enliven senior citizens by changing the public mindset about old age. They also want to boost employment of older people, stating that the time from the age of 65 onward is "the best period in one's life."

The proposal is based on a suggestion made last year by the Japan Gerontological Society and others to "redefine the age of seniors to 75 years old and above, since people aged 65 and older have become physically younger compared to those 10 to 20 years ago."

Nagano Mayor Hisao Kato noted that senior citizens today "have more physical and mental stamina than before." The mayor, still a senior after the redefinition, showed that he is full of energy.

(Japanese original by Kumiko Yasumoto, Nagano Bureau)

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