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Chapter 2 Implementation of Measures for the Aging Society
  3. Status of Implementations of Measures by Field

(3) Learning and Social Participation

- In order to ensure that learning opportunities can be appropriately provided depending on a variety of learning demands throughout life, it is important for the government and municipalities, as well as private agencies and organizations, to form a collaboration/cooperation structure thereby promoting the advancement of life-long learning proactively and comprehensively. Therefore, various efforts have been made to realize a society providing life-long learning based on the "Law for Improving the Systems to Promote Measures for the Advancement of Life-long Learning" (Law No. 71, 1990) and the reports by the Central Council for Education. In addition, life-long learning has been promoted through the provision of services for supporting private organizations promoting life-long learning and municipalities making efforts to create better communities through the promotion of education, culture, and sports.

- The National Lifelong Learning Festival was held with the purpose of spreading and enlightening life-long learning, including a symposium and experimental workshops. Through the festival, opportunities were provided on a nationwide scale for the general public to participate in activities related to life-long learning. (During the period from October 9 to 13, 2004, the festival was held under the theme of "The circle of leaning brings together the hospitality extended by people" in Ehime Prefecture.)

- The "Rich Experience Activity Model Program" has been developed so that students of elementary schools, junior high schools and high schools can participate in a variety of experiential activities including experience of social service activities such as volunteer activities. One of the programs is to designate the schools and regions promoting experiential activities in each prefecture, which will serve as models for other schools.

- Many learning opportunities are provided for a wide range of age groups in citizens' public halls, libraries, museums, women's education centers, and other social education facilities, as well as in the Boards of Education. Among these programs are classes or courses for further understanding aging society or those for the elderly themselves. (Chart 2-3-27)

Chart 2-3-27. Number of Social Education Classes and Courses for the Elderly at the Boards of Education and Community Centers


FY2001 FY1998
Number of classes and courses 45,501 Y1998
Humanities studies 25,215 23,272
Sports and recreation 9,898 5,036
Family life and education 2,845 2,193
Vocational knowledge and skills 823 350
Citizenship and social solidarity 4,334 4,289
Others 2,386 1,938
Source: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, "Social Education Survey," 1999, 2002

- So that the elderly themselves can positively participate in society with a sense of fulfillment while finding their own role, it is essential to make efforts to improve various environmental conditions in society. For this purpose, Senior Citizens' Clubs engaged in positive comprehensive social activities in local communities are subsidized for their further promotion.

- In order to promote the elderly's fulfillment and health, grants are provided for enlightenment and diffusion of municipal social activities for the elderly, and for support of elderly volunteer activities, etc. In addition, subsidies are provided for programs to develop elderly leaders and to establish organizational networks, which have been conducted by the "Prefectural Offices to Promote a Prosperous Longevity Society" located in each prefecture. In October 2004, the National Welfare Festival for the Aged was held in Gunma Prefecture.

- From the viewpoint of supporting social participation activities utilizing the abundant knowledge and experiences and learning results of the elderly, the National Forum for Social Participation of Older Persons was held so that a variety of generations of the nation might widely exchange opinions about measures to promote social participation by the elderly (held in Ehime Prefecture on October 12, 2004, with the theme of "Singing and laughing are the source of power: Tips of learning".)

- Under the Law to Promote Specified Nonprofit Activities (Law No. 7, 1998), the certification and supervision of specified nonprofit organizations (hereinafter "NPOs") have been conducted. In FY2004, with respect to the Certified NPO System that is intended to support the activities undertaken by NPOs, especially those with considerable public utility, a survey was conducted on the actual utilization of the system and related familiarization and awareness raising, and the survey results were released publicly.

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