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From the Vice-president ( Social and Human Sciences )

Yoshinori Fujiwara, M.D., Ph.D. Creating a Sustainable Local Community Fostering Coexistence with Older Adults

To achieve healthy longevity and well-being, Social and Human Sciences Research Division pursues basic research and applied and practical research from the perspective of prevention and symbiosis, intending to find solutions for dementia, frailty, social isolation and loneliness, and health disparities in older adults.

The research system consists of three research teams: 1)"Social Participation and Healthy Aging," 2)"Promoting Independence and Mental Health," and 3)"Human Care." Additionally, three thematic groups belong to each team.

Regarding research content, from an individual perspective of older adults, we study lifestyle habits, including exercise, nutrition and oral cavity care, social participation, and contribution activities, including managing chronic diseases, such as diabetes and musculoskeletal diseases. Noteworthy, older adults’ health, longevity, and well-being cannot be achieved through individual efforts alone. Therefore, from the perspective of environmental factors surrounding older adults, we also promote research on local and social environments, social systems, and digitization.

Each theme group also supervises five long-term longitudinal studies titled"Tokyo LSA (Longitudinal Study on Aging)."These studies are conducted in collaboration with research institutions located both inside and outside of the Center. Furthermore, we are working with the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Geriatrics and Gerontology and the Center for Frailty Prevention—a cross-section of the hospital and biology and medical sciences research division -to advance comprehensive research on dementia and frailty. We also collaborate with private companies to enable the results of our research to be given back to society at large.

Eichi Shibusawa, the first director of the Youiku-in that forms the roots of our Center, indicated in his masterpiece, Analects and Arithmetic, that cooperation between welfare and business is the cornerstone for the sustainable development of Japanese society. This understanding is the"development of health and welfare research and its social implementation and return," for which the Social and Human Sciences Research Division aims.

We must provide a prescription for the upcoming Year 2040 problem as we work toward this goal. This problem revolves around the so-called"second baby boomer" generation, which will become the"older adults," with the working generation rapidly declining. One proposed solution is to include older adults in actively participating in various scenes, which will create a"win-win-win strategy" in which the advantages of such participation could spread to older adults themselves and to those around them, including to the broader society. From there, it is proposed that we develop, verify, and further install the mechanisms and systems of this"win-win-win strategy." Through this process, we hope to contribute to realizing a society where all generations who support a super-aged society can live with hope and dignity-specifically,"creating a sustainable community fostering coexistence with older adults." We appreciate your support and cooperation.

Yoshinori Fujiwara, M.D., Ph.D.
Vice-president ( Social and Human Sciences )