The unprecedented aging of Japan's population presents costs and opportunities for its future as a society and as a major economic power. Japan's seniors already control the largest portion of the nation's wealth, but in the very near future they will also consume the lion's share of the social expense for care and living as they age and their proportion in the total population increases. In this chapter we examine two areas which promise commercial opportunities because of such a vast socio-demographic change linked to a huge pool of liquid assets. Those areas are, firstly, catering to the financial needs of the country's senior citizens and, secondly, responding to their particular preferences and requirements for housing. In Japan's generally sluggish market for housing and financial services, the silver market provides one of the richest segments available, but successfully offering such services to this population requires skill, sensitivity, and an understanding of the evolving consumer mindset in Japan. In addition, the added impact of the recession of 2008 will make this target market even more difficult to persuade to part with their diminished personal assets, but it also opens opportunities for financial service providers whose offerings best suit the anxieties and fears of these aging investors.
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