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Japan's government can't afford gifts for old people

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Staff writer ▼ | August 22, 2015
Japan's government has announced that it's cutting back on gifts for 100-year-old citizens, as the country's growing elderly population has made the practice too expensive to continue.
Japan old people
Asia   Too many old citizens in Japan
Traditionally, the Japanese prime minister presents centenarians with a silver sake dish or sakazuki worth ¥8,000 ($64) as part of the country's Respect for the Aged Day celebrations.

When the program began in 1963, 153 individuals were given cups, but last year that number had risen to 29,357.

According to The Japan Times, costs for the initiative hit ¥260 million ($2 million) in 2014, and the country has subsequently decided to find a cheaper alternative — such as using a less-expensive material for the dishes, or simply sending a letter of congratulations instead.