Dying alone has become a growing issue in Japan as the society rapidly ages.   The Japanese government has long assumed that families would care for their elder relatives and therefore did not invest in social welfare programs.   Now they are being confronted with an increasing number of elders who die the lonely death – ‘kodokushi’ in Japanese.

Although more women live alone because they tend to live longer than men, it is the men who are more likely to experience social exclusion and end up lying in lonely deaths because many don’t participate in community activities.   Long hours on the job prevented men from attaining a work-life balance, leading to isolation in later life.

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