New Project Featuring Japan’s Good Practice in Research-to-Action for Healthy Ageing

The World Health Organization Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre) and the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (NCGG) are pleased to announce that they will commence a collaborative research project to advance universal health coverage (UHC) and healthy ageing in Japan.

Local governments in Japan are implementing a wide range of policies in response to rapid population ageing. While many studies gather scientific evidence that could inform such policies, less attention has been given to how best to apply research findings to government policies and practices.

A new collaborative study between the WHO Kobe Centre and the NCGG will feature a good practice in research-to-action for healthy ageing in Japan – the Japan Gerontological Evaluation Study (JAGES) initiative. JAGES continuously provides direct inputs to local and national decision-making bodies using evidence generated from a survey which has progressively scaled up since its inception in 1999 to include 200,000 older adults in 39 municipalities nationwide in 2016.

Specifically, the new project will:
    • Describe the strategies employed by JAGES to collaborate with local governments to conduct large-scale surveys of older adults.
    • Review the body of scientific evidence accumulated by JAGES and their implications for healthy ageing policies.
    • Demonstrate effective methods for communicating research evidence to policy makers and practitioners, including the development and use of the JAGES Health Equity Assessment and Response Tool, which is a data visualization tool.
    • Illustrate JAGES’ impact in diverse municipalities using the case examples of Kobe (Hyogo), Matsudo (Chiba) and Taketoyo (Aichi).

The lessons learned from the JAGES initiative will help other countries strengthen their own practices in data collection, research and knowledge translation toward improving health for all in ageing populations. The study results are scheduled to be published in May 2018 or later.

Dr. Sarah Louise Barber, the Director of WHO Kobe Centre, stated that “Japan, with its super-ageing society, is brimming with valuable lessons that the rest of the world can learn from. I am pleased that, through this study, we will be able to provide scientific evidence that will contribute to policies around the world to support healthy ageing.”
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Katsunori Kondo, Head of the Department of Gerontological Evaluation at the Center for Gerontology and Social Science of the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology (and Professor at the Center for Preventive Medical Sciences of Chiba University), stated that, “We have been working on creating models for social epidemiology research that facilitates policy formulation and implementation. I am very glad that we, in Japan, the society with the world’s longest healthy life expectancy, are able to make a contribution in this way to the rest of the world.”

Research Group members include:
National Centre for Gerontology and Geriatrics (lead research institution):
  • Dr Katsunori Kondo, lead researcher, Head, Department of Gerontological Evaluation, Center for Gerontology and Social Science, National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology and Professor of the Center for Preventive Medical Sciences, Chiba University
  • Dr Toshiyuki Ojima, Professor and Chair of Department of Community Health and Preventive Medicine, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine
  • Dr Naoki Kondo, Associate Professor, Social Epidemiology and Public Health/Chief of the Department of Health Education and Health Sociology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Tokyo
  • Dr Jun Aida, Associate Professor, Department of International and community oral health, Tohoku University Graduate School of Dentistry
  • Dr Masashige Saito, Associate Professor, Faculty of Social Welfare, Nihon Fukushi University
  • Dr Megumi Rosenberg, Technical Officer, WHO Kobe Centre