9,000 elderly people attend annual convention

The 16th Convention on the Elderly took place in Tokyo on September 2 with about 9,000 elderly people attending.

The Convention adopted two resolutions against cutbacks in the social service system and wartime legislation.

One resolution was in opposition to the adverse revision of the medical insurance system, pension cuts, the rise in nursing care insurance premiums, and cancellation of national health insurance policy for persons whose premium payments are in arrears. The other resolution said that the elderly, as persons having experienced the war, are against the wartime bills which are like copies of the old National Mobilization Law and the Maintenance of Public Order Law.

The Convention also adopted an appeal encouraging aged people to make friends and avoid to live in loneliness.

The appeal points out that many senior citizens are now suffering from a hard life, illness, and nursing care provided with the elderly bearing a heavier burden of the medical costs and a reduction of pension benefits. The appeal calls on older people to join in movements together to demand the government take steps for them to be able to live more actively, rather than despairing, thereby cutting a link with society, and retiring into their shells.

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Professor Inoue Hideo of Kanazawa University reported on the U.N. 2nd Congress on Aged People held in Madrid, Spain, in April. He said that the U.N. sees that change in society and protection of human rights are the way to respond to the aging community, and criticized the Japanese government's backward attitude.

Otani Akihiro, a well-known journalist, gave a lecture, and representatives from NGOs, citizens groups, and women's organizations reported on their activities. (end)