Photo: Tamagawaen, Ota-ku, Tokyo
The 2016 U. S. presidential election reminded us of age and health issues. Both Clinton and Trump were near or already 70 years old, obviously not in their prime.
Our bodies and minds deteriorate over time, no matter how well we care for ourselves. The presidency is certainly the most complex and demanding job in the world. While experience that comes with age are certainly benefits for the president, health concerns remain.
In the case of Trump, many people are concerned that he is overweight, as bad diet and doesn't excercise. And, of course, mental health is also an issue for him with many of his words and actions causing pose to question his stability.
Traditionally in Japan, when we speak to someone older, we are supposed to speak in a more respectful manner and use polite expressions. If we do not know the age of someone we are addressing, we feel uncomfortable not knowing how to treat that person. Nowadays, however, we seem to be losing this sort of polite attitude.
In the business world, most Japanese companies have a mandatory system in which the retirement age is set at 65. After retirement, many face the reality that they no longer have any title, major income and workplace. These senior people face an age bias if they try to get a new job, and they worry about making ends meet as they live longer.
What is more, many Japanese, especially men, tend to identify themselves with their job. When they retire, they lose all sense of self-worth and don't know what to do with themselves.
In the U.S., there is no need to disclose your age on your resume. It seems reasonable, because age discrimination is officially illegal there, even if it is still commonly practiced.
In love and marriage, I believe that having a relationship is a matter of compatibility and maturity. But in reality, older women seem to be in less favorable situation than older men, because a lot of men prefer young women, and older women have high poverty rate. I think age should not be a problem as long as two people love and respect each other.
Since we are living in the aging society, it would be better if we returned to our traditioal way of thinking in which the wisdom of seniors is valued. Older citizens are required to have both traditional wisdom and IT skills, while being supportive and generous, but may not feel comfortable socializing with colleagues and friends of younger generation.