Lifestyle of the elderly Japanese in Transition: International Retirement Migration from the Super Aged Society
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores an emerging transnational mobility of Japanese retirees and its implication with respect to transforming life course of the elderly. Through the ethnographic lends, this paper examines how retirement migrants create a community by utilizing online social networking services, which is the very process of creating new ways of life.
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores an emerging transnational mobility of Japanese retirees and its implication with respect to transforming life course of the elderly. Within Japan's current situation of a rapidly aging and declining birthrate, namely in the stage of the super aged society, increasing numbers of Japanese pensioners are interested in retiring abroad. Their motivation for moving abroad is to make their post-retirement life more meaningful and financially sustainable within the range of their retirement pension while they were still active and healthy. The everyday life of Japanese elderly, which has conventionally been understood as static and in-place, is in its transition and becomes more dynamic.
Since the late 1990s, Japanese international retirement migration (IRM) to Southeast Asian countries where retirement programs for foreign retirees are available has been increasing. The government of Malaysia, the country which has been recognized as the most desirable destination among the Japanese, has implemented a tourism policy, the "Malaysia My Second Home Programme", which attracts affluent foreign retirees in order to stimulate the economy. Although Japanese IRM is mostly conducted by healthy retirees, it consequently has created a new stream of people leaving Japan who determined to settle down in Malaysia permanently despite their visa not guaranteeing their status as permanent residents.
This paper further examines how elderly people relate to each other through migration and how they recreate a community after their retirement by utilizing online social networking services, which is the very process of creating new ways of life through the ethnographic lends.
Ageing and the digital life course (IUAES Commission on Ageing and the Aged)