University of Tokyo

Survey Number 0679
Survey Title National Survey of the Japanese Elderly <Wave4(1996)>
Depositor Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
Restriction of Use For detailed information, please refer to 'For Data Users' at SSJDA website.

- Apply to SSJDA. SSJDA's approval required.
Educational Purpose Available for both research and instructional purposes.
Period of Data Use Permission One year
Access to Datasets Download
Nesstar Not available
Summary This research was initiated in 1986 as a collaborative project of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (principal researcher: Daisaku Maeda) and the University of Michigan (principal researcher: Jersey Liang). In 1987, the 1st survey (Wave1) was conducted, targeting men and women aged 60 years and older, who were extracted using a two-stage stratified random sampling in Japan. Subsequently, while supplementing a sample of people aged 60 to 62 years in 1990 (Wave2), people aged 60 to 65 years in 1996 (Wave4), follow-up surveys have been conducted about every three years.

In this survey, the resources and living conditions of the elderly were investigated from various aspects, such as their physical and mental health, family, social relationships other than family, and economic conditions. By adopting a method of longitudinal study to repeatedly investigate the same subjects, it was possible to analyze the state of changes in the resources and living conditions of the elderly and the factors that are causing these changes.

For some of the questions, the Americans’ Changing Lives (ACL) survey (1986, 1989), which was conducted by the University of Michigan Survey Research Center (Institute for Social Research) and targeted adults across the United States, was used as a reference.

The data deposited on this occasion comprise the data of Wave 4 conducted in 1996 and merged with the data of the “National panel survey of the elderly - Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology and the University of Michigan ” (SSJDA survey number 0395) already deposited in the SSJ. It is possible to analyze these as the panel data of four waves (However, since there are cautionary notes on variable usage etc., please check Wave 4’s code book.).

This survey was conducted using a face-to-face interview method with the target individual (survey of the respondent); however, in case this interview could not be conducted, either a proxy survey (interview with a cohabiting family member, etc.) or a missing-questionnaire survey (filled in by the survey staff) was conducted, and in case of a missing questionnaire, a re-survey was conducted in December of the same year after issuing another request letter.

The main question items of the survey of the respondent were employment status, family (spouse, household family members, children living separately), relationships with friends and neighbors, group participation, social support, physical and mental health, health behavior, satisfaction level by area, economic conditions, religion, view of life and death, etc. For the number of years of schooling and longest-held occupation, only new subjects were asked questions. Regarding proxy surveys, these were limited to some items concerning family, health, etc.
The names of each Wave are not unified in different sources, but they are handled as follows up to Wave 4

- Wave 1 (W1) ... initial survey, 1st survey, survey of 1987
- Wave 2 (W2) ... 1st follow-up survey, 2nd survey, survey of 1990
- Wave 3 (W3) ... 2nd follow-up survey, 3rd survey, survey of 1993
- Wave 4 (W4) ... 3rd follow-up survey, 4th survey, survey of 1996

These survey data were also published as the “National Survey of the Japanese Elderly” in the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research data archive.
Data Type quantitative research
quantitative research: micro data
Universe Men and women aged 60 years and older in Japan

*The survey subjects of Wave 4 (survey of 1996) were follow-up subjects extracted using a two-stage stratified random sampling in Japan in Wave 1 or Wave 2 (aged 66 years and older as of October 1996), and new subjects aged 60 to 65 years who were randomly extracted in Wave 4.
Unit of Observation Individual
Sample Size
Sample size (people) Number of responses (people) Response rate (%)
[number deceased] [including deceased] [excluding deceased]
Follow-up respondents 2,225 <232> 1,549 (1,775) 69.6(79.8) 77.7(89.1)
New subjects 1,210 < 4> 898( 976) 74.2(80.7) 74.5(80.9)

         [excluding deceased↓]
    Total        3,435  3,199     2,447(2,751)    71.2(80.1)  76.5(86.0)

*Figures in parentheses include cases where subjects’ proxies were surveyed.
Date of Collection
Time Period
Spatial Unit Japan
Sampling Procedure The survey subjects of Wave 4 (survey of 1996) were follow-up respondents extracted using a two-stage stratified random sampling in Japan in Wave 1 or Wave 2 (aged 66 years and older as of October 1996), and new subjects of 60 to 65 years old that were randomly extracted in Wave 4. The sample size was set for the new subjects so that the extraction probability was equal to the follow-up subjects; it was extracted using 192 locations used for extracting follow-up respondents.

The follow-up respondents until Wave 3, among those who cooperated with the survey more than once, comprised 2,225 people (Wave 1: 1,841 people, supplementary sample of Wave 2: 384 people). Excluding those whose death was confirmed by Wave 3, and including 1,210 newly extracted subjects that were added, the number of subjects of Wave 4 comprised 3,435 people. However, excluding those whose death was confirmed by Wave 4, the sample size was 3,199.
Mode of Data Collection Prior checks were conducted using the Basic Resident Register to determine subjects’ location and whether or not they were deceased.

The survey was conducted in October 1996 in the form of face-to-face interviews using a questionnaire sheet.

The interviews were basically conducted with the subjects themselves, but in the event of a subject being unable to answer questions owing to serious illness or the like, the interviews were conducted with family members or other proxies.

Moreover, subjects who could not participate during the survey period owing to absence or other such reasons were re-surveyed in December, in an effort to raise the number of responses.
Investigator Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, University of Michigan, survey carried out by Central Research Services, Inc
Sponsors (Funds)
Related Publications (by the Investigator) Please refer to the abstract in Japanese.
Related Publications (based on Secondary Analysis) List of related publications (based on Secondary Analysis)
Documentation [1996 Questionnaire]
Major Survey Items  ◎…New survey item in Wave4 〇…Survey item present (other than ◎)  ×…No survey item ★…Information held but not included in survey items 
Note: Owing to differences in conditions and wording from Wave1 through Wave 4, users should refer to the “Table of Survey Items and Points to Note” when making comparisons. The following list includes items that are not part of this Wave4 survey, to allow for correspondence with Waves 1 through 3.

(1) Basic attributes, etc.
- Regional characteristics (Area of residence - size of cities and municipalities)
- Situation of moving
- Month and year of birth
- Gender
- Years of schooling〇※New subjects only
- Death situation
-- Wave in which respondent first participated
(2) Work
- Whether or not respondent is currently working
- Details of current work (occupation code)
- Occupational prestige score of the current job
- Number of months worked in a year
- Number of working days per week
- Number of working hours per day
- Whether or not retired
- Retirement year
- Details of the longest-held job (occupation code)〇※New subjects only
- Occupational prestige score of the longest held job×
(3) Family
- Marital status 
- Month and year of marriage
- Month and year of separation by death or divorce
- Number of children
- Spouse’s work/number of years attended school×
- Number of cohabitants (including respondent him or herself)
Relationship of cohabitants, age, gender, whether head of household
- presence and number of children living separately
- Number of children living separately within one hour distance
- Number of grandchildren
- Frequency of interaction with children living separately
(4) Social relationships other than family
[Friends-neighbors, participation in groups (social integration)]
- Number of close friends
- Places to meet with close friends
- Number of neighborhood relationships
- Frequency of talking on the phone with friends/neighbors/relatives
- Frequency of seeing friends/neighbors/relatives
- Number of groups participated in
- Frequency of participation in groups
- Feeling of isolation
[Social support]
- People who listen to respondent’s concerns, and to what degree
  First and second listeners
- People who show kindness, and to what degree
  First and second people who show kindness
- Satisfaction with access to emotional support×
- People who the respondent counts on for care when ill, and to what degree
  First and second people who can be counted upon
  Degree of care received for illness in the past year×
- People who the respondent counts on for financial support, and to what degree
  Degree of financial support received in the past year×
- People who provide minor assistance, and to what degree
  First and second people who provide minor assistance
- Satisfaction with care when ill and financial assistance×
- Longest and most difficult activity in ADL/IADL
  Presence of helpers and frequency
  First and second helpers
- Physical ability
- Urinary incontinence within one year
- Number of days respondent needed to be on bed rest in the past two weeks
- Subjective feeling of health
- Level of health compared with same generation
- Level of health compared with 1 year ago
(6) Health-related behavior (professional treatment, lifestyle habits), etc.
- Number of visits to doctors (within 3 months)
- Number of days of hospitalization
- Degree of illness/injury when using a major hospital
- Degree of confusion in the absence of a doctor’s referral
- Whether respondent consults the same doctor habitually
- Whether respondent attends hospital periodically
- Reasons for selection of medical facilities
- Presence of a medical facility within walking distance
- Awareness of public health and welfare services
- Use of public health and welfare services
- Height
- Body weight
- Frequency of doing gardening/doing exercise/taking a walk
- Whether or not respondent drinks and frequency, amount
- Whether or not respondent smokes and amount
(7) Mental health, subjective feeling of happiness
- Cognitive disabilities (SPMSQ)
- Depression scale (CES-D)
- Life satisfaction index (LSI-A)
- Moral scale (PGC Moral)
[Satisfaction level by area]
  Health condition satisfaction
  Financial satisfaction
  Work satisfaction
  Spouse satisfaction
  Family satisfaction
  Friendship satisfaction
  Overall lifestyle satisfaction
(8) Finances
- Type of housing
- Presence and value of postal/bank savings, stock holdings, etc. held by respondent/spouse
- Degree of difficulty in making ends meet
- Comparison with financial conditions of others in same generation
- Presence of income/financial reserves
- Annual income amount of respondent and spouse combined
- Annual household income amount
- Increase in burden of expenditures
- Person primarily responsible for expenditures and whether or not he or she is cohabiting with respondent
(9) Other
[Life events (stress)]
- Experience of various life events and their impact
[Locus of control]
- Locus of control
- Day-to-day religious activities
- Religious beliefs
[Outlook on life and death]
- Outlook on life and death
- Degree of desire for euthanasia
(10) Observations by survey staff (responses provided by survey staff immediately following the interview)
- Impact of the presence of spouse or adult children at the interview
- Impact of others present at the interview
- Adequate understanding of the questions
- Cooperativeness
- Appearance of fatigue
- Appearance of enjoying the interview
- Difficulties in remembering the questions
- Difficulties in hearing the questions
Date of Release
Topics in CESSDA Click here for details

Topics in SSJDA Health/Medical Care
Version 2010/04/22 :
Notes for Users - In anticipation of its use as panel data, the data provided in Wave 4 include data for 3,990 respondents to surveys conducted prior to Wave 4. The number of responses provided personally by original respondents in the Wave 4 survey (data variables with the prefix j4v) is, as stated above, 2,447.

- The “Table of Survey Items and Points to Note” sets out correspondence with the survey items in Wave 1 through Wave 3, as well as points to note in analysis. Please be sure to refer to this table when conducting analysis.

- The data provided include, in addition to the survey items in the questionnaire, variables in relation to the status of deceased respondents (the Wave in which they were confirmed deceased, and the month and year of death).

- The latest list of outputs such as articles and conference presentations that utilize this dataset are posted on the website for this research project (JAHEAD) ( When engaging in secondary analysis, please check whether there is any duplication of existing research.

- Please be sure to use the readme file provided together with the data for wording of citations and acknowledgements.