The New York TimesThe New York Times

As Asian societies age, 'retirement' just means more work

By Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida

07 Jan 2023 · 8 min read

Editor's Note

As populations are graying faster than anywhere else in the world, Asian countries struggle to adapt. The New York Times looks at the far-reaching consequences of an aging society.

TOKYO — All Yoshihito Oonami wants to do is retire and give his worn body a rest.

Instead, every morning at 1:30, Oonami, 73, wakes up and drives an hour to a fresh-produce market on an islet in Tokyo Bay. While loading mushrooms, ginger root, sweet potatoes, radishes and other vegetables into his car, he frequently lifts boxes that weigh more than 15 pounds, straining his back. He then drives across Japan’s capital city, making restaurant deliveries up to 10 times a day.

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