Policy for old people has been unusually contentious recently. The pension records debacle is one of the most-covered issues for a year or so, and fundamental pension reform remains high on the policy agenda (with the LDP and the DPJ taking quite different positions). A substantial reform of Long-Term Care Insurance (Kaigo Hoken) was implemented in 2006 without too much fuss, but introduction of a new system for medical care of the old-old in April brought sharp protests. Is all this a blip, or will old-age policy be a contentious arena in national politics and the grassroots?
John Creighton Campbell is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Michigan and Visiting Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the Keio University Medical School. He is the author of Contemporary Japanese Budget Politics, How Policies Change: The Japanese Government and the Aging Society, and (with Naoki Ikegami), The Art of Balance in Health Policy: Maintaining Japan's Low-Cost, Egalitarian System (all also available in Japanese).