ESRI Studies Series on Ageing
Edited by Toshiaki Tachibanaki
Chapter 11: Public infrastructures for equalizing capability in an ageing society
Tadashi Yagi 1. INTRODUCTION In his seminal research, Sen (1985, 1997) proposed the concept of ‘capability’, which refers to the ability to transform income, service and goods to improve their utility. This concept of capability is of critical importance in a society where there are large diﬀerences in capability within the population. As a society ages, the number and share of people who are disabled increases, because the probability of being disabled increases as one ages. Using time-series data, the current number of disabled people, and population forecasts, it has been estimated that there will be over 6 million disabled people in Japan within two decades. Capabilities of the disabled greatly diﬀer depending on how well accessibility (which is not an important issue for those who are not disabled) to services is implemented. In other words, the inequality of capability is dependent upon the state of accessibility in a society, and this inequality of capability is of critical importance in an ageing society. When we consider the development of social infrastructures in an ageing society, it is important to pay attention to two related issues. One is the building of infrastructures that improve welfare for the elderly, such as home care. Infrastructures such as libraries and museums are very beneﬁcial for the elderly, because the retired have the leisure to utilize these establishments and thus enrich their lives. The other issue is the improvement of accessibility for the disabled, since they are not able to beneﬁt...
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