Japan's elderly now pay 3.5% more for nursing care insurance

Elderly people in Japan started last month to pay 3.5 percent more on average in contributions for the national nursing care insurance system.

Municipalities across the country review monthly contributions paid by those aged 65 and older every three years. Local authorities calculate nursing care costs in their areas based on national standards.

The welfare ministry says municipalities raised the fees from April to 6,225 yen, or about 40 dollars, on average. That is an increase of about 1.3 dollars from the previous amounts set three years ago.

Contributions range from about 22 dollars in Tokyo's remote island village of Ogasawara in the Pacific Ocean to about 60 dollars in the western city of Osaka.

The ministry says contributions rose across the country due to the increasing population of the elderly and higher pay for care workers.

The national average contribution has more than doubled since the nursing care insurance scheme started in fiscal 2000. The average monthly amount is expected to climb to about 58 dollars in fiscal 2040.