Silver Bus Pass
The other day I had lunch with a former colleague and he told me about the Tokyo Metropolitan Silver Bus Pass [東京都シルバ－バス https://www.tokyobus.or.jp/silver/]. It is for people 70 years of age or older. It allows you to ride any city bus and some private buses for free. The pass costs ¥20,500, for one year, so if you ride buses often, as I do, then it is a really good bargain. It also can be used on Toei Subway lines.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to address the needs and interests of middle-aged and elderly people in the United States. Anyone 60 years or older can be a member and it does not matter if the person is working or retired. As of 2018 it has more than 38 million members. It offers a broad range of services and benefits to its members, such as a group health insurance program; special discounts on automobile rental, airline, and hotel rates; automotive insurance; a credit union; and pharmacy services.
One of its major functions is as a legislative advocate for the elderly at the federal and state levels, working to influence the passage of legislation that affects older people. The large membership together with the higher voting rates of elderly Americans has helped make AARP one of the most powerful advocacy groups in American politics. The membership fee is $16.00 a year.
If a similar organization exists in Japan, I am not familiar with it. Japan does offer certain benefits to senior citizens, but there does not seem to be a group that specifically lobbies for the interests of older citizens. One of the serious problems facing Japan is the aging population. Without a strong advocacy group, like the AARP, I am afraid that laws might increasingly be passed which would not be in the best interested of the elderly. If there was a similar organization with millions of voting members in Japan, I am sure that the politicians would carefully pay attention to it.