The Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR)
In order to establish a sustainable social security system in Japan, whose population is aging ahead of other developed countries, it is crucial to make available micro-data on the diverse aspects of the lives of elderly people. Extensive surveys have been conducted on elderly people in many other countries, and the resulting data have been utilized not only for academic and research purposes, but also as a valuable input for real-world policymaking. Despite the rapid aging of the Japanese population, no statistical survey that could properly capture the diversity of the elderly population from various viewpoints had been carried out in Japan until recently.
Against this backdrop, RIETI and Hitotsubashi University jointly launched a comprehensive survey of elderly people in 2007 to collect panel data on their lives and health, with the University of Tokyo joining from 2009 onward. The data collected in this survey include diverse information on the economic, social, and health conditions of elderly people. In addition, the survey is designed to ensure, to the maximum extent possible, comparability with preceding surveys such as the Health and Retirement Study in the United States, the Survey of Health, Aging and Retirement in Europe in continental Europe, and the English Longitudinal Study of Aging in the United Kingdom. Therefore, by analyzing JSTAR data, researchers can track the characteristics of the Japanese elderly population in terms of both their specificity and universality in the world. In this sense, JSTAR is Japan's first-ever globally comparable panel data survey of elderly people.