Look East old chap


Posted on May 14th, by geoff in Caring Times, CT blog. 3 comments

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

A certain amount of self-regard is no bad thing, but I can’t say the same about those, usually younger, people who appear to be obsessed with ‘selfies’. Talk about narcissism run riot.

My first camera was a box-Brownie and I could take eleven monochrome exposures before I had to remove the film and send it away for processing – I certainly wasn’t going to waste any of those exposures on a selfie.

I graduated in time to a Nikon 35mm and became absorbed for a while in the then dark art of photography. I even had a darkroom wherein an enlarger glowed in the dull red illumination of the safe light like a bulbous Shinto shrine. Which brings me nicely on to all things Japanese.

Japan has led the way in so many areas: all things electronic including mobile phones and the curse of the selfie, fatuous TV game shows and origami come immediately to mind. But more germane to this blog, the Japanese seem to have got elderly care relatively well-sorted.

A report from the Nuffield Trust https://www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/news-item/following-in-the-footsteps-of-japan-making-social-care-reform-happen says that Japan’s ageing population made long term care the number one issue in the 1990s. Read the report to see how they’ve gone about it; there isn’t space here (the Japanese may have miniaturised poetry with the haiku but prose has still got them foxed).

The point I want to make is, the Japanese got their priorities right, and that’s what good government is all about. So perhaps, Brexit notwithstanding, we should be more outward looking and study how other nations have tackled social care provision – the selfie approach is not getting us out of the treacle.

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3 responses to “Look East old chap”

  1. What’s particularly interesting is the way that in Japan, the government set out to engage the population and shift the perception of social care – shows it can be done.

  2. Gillian Dalley says:

    Japan identified there was a problem and sensibly went out to look for what solutions were possible, looking at other countries’ experience and inititiatives as part of this. Japanese health professionals and researchers visited the UK and elsewhere in Europe frequently and were keen to learn. For instance, they translated A Better Home Life into Japanese (published by CPA in 2001 when I was director there), attended conferences, visited many centres of learning and service provision. In 2005, they invited me to spend time at Nagoya University as a visiting research fellow and share and explore ideas with some of them. Their thorough research and consultation over the years seems to have proved effective. Perhaps it’s now time that we learned from them.

  3. I watched a fascinating programme some months ago about this ageing issue in Japan which as you say was well researched and acted on early by those governing the islands.

    It was this issue that drove the Japanese into technology and robots – realising that there would not be enough of the population remaining of working age as the population got older and that as a consequence it would have to find alternative ways of carrying out human based tasks.

    As you say a very progressive Government strategy from which the country has gained much.


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