University of Tokyo

Survey Number 0823
Survey Title National Survey of the Japanese Elderly <Wave5(1999), Wave6(2002)>, 1999-2002
Depositor Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology
Restriction of Use For detailed information, please refer to 'For Data Users' on the 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
SSJDA Data Analysis 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 (Wave 1) 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 (Wave 2), people aged 60 to 65 years in 1996 (Wave 4), follow-up surveys have been conducted every three years. From Wave 5 in 1999, The University of Tokyo joined as the main entity conducting the survey.

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 financial conditions. By adopting a longitudinal study or panel survey method 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.

The dataset published here is from Wave5 and Wave6, conducted in 1999 and 2002 respectively. In addition to carrying on from the previous Waves, these Waves are characterized by a new research agenda: the dynamics of health, family, and finance in the “late-elderly” stage of life. In Japan, as the trends of low birthrate and aging progress rapidly, the population and proportion of late-elderly people (usually aged 75 and older) are both growing at rapid rate. Catering for the late elderly, who tend to have more health problems than the early elderly, has become an overriding societal challenge. In particular, the period around 2000 in which these two Waves were conducted was one of major change in the conditions surrounding elderly care, following the introduction of a public long-term care insurance system (in 2000).

Wave5 diverged from the approach followed up to Wave 4, which involved supplementing the sample to create a nationwide representative sample of those aged 60 and older. Wave 5 added a new large-scale sample of respondents aged 70 and over collected through random sampling, in order to enable analysis focusing on late-elderly respondents. It also modified (deleted, added) some of the survey items that had been used up to Wave 4. Wave 6, meanwhile, was positioned as a follow-up survey to Wave 5, so none of the Wave 5 survey items were altered.

Wave 5 and Wave 6 drew on the research framework of the AHEAD Study (Study of Assets and Health Dynamics Among the Oldest Old) conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. This is why the current longitudinal study is sometimes known as JAHEAD (Japanese AHEAD). Targeting elderly people aged 70 and over in the United States, the Michigan AHEAD study (conducted on a combined basis with the HRS: Health and Retirement Study from Wave 3 onward) was designed to shed light on how respondents’ health, family, assets and other resources change during their period of old age, and how these different factors influence one another.

The names of each Wave are not unified in different sources, but they are handled as follows.

- Wave 1 (W1) ... 1st survey, survey of 1987, initial survey
- Wave 2 (W2) ... 2nd survey, survey of 1990, 1st follow-up survey
- Wave 3 (W3) ... 3rd survey, survey of 1993, 2nd follow-up survey
- Wave 4 (W4) ... 4th survey, survey of 1996, 3rd follow-up survey
- Wave 5 (W5) ... 5th survey, survey of 1999, 4rd follow-up survey
- Wave 6 (W6) ... 6th survey, survey of 2002

Of these, data from Wave 1 through Wave 3 are available as 0395, and Wave 4 data as 0679.

Data from this survey are also published in the ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research; as the “National Survey of the Japanese Elderly.”
Data Type quantitative research: micro data
Universe Wave 5:
- Follow-up respondents (aged 63 and older) who participated in at least one of the surveys prior to Wave 4 (1996)
- New sample (aged 70 and older) obtained in Wave 5

Wave 6:
- Follow-up respondents (aged 66 and older) who participated in at least one of the surveys prior to Wave5

*In principle, all respondents to previous Wave surveys (including those who responded by proxy) are eligible for follow-up surveys. Even if they have not responded to an intervening Wave survey, they are requested to participate, except if they are deceased or have declined to participate in follow-ups.
Unit of Observation Individual
Sample Size Wave 5:
- Sample size excluding deceased: 4,680 people, number of valid responses: 3,989 people, response rate excluding deceased: 85.2%
(- Follow-up respondents up to Wave 4 – sample size excluding deceased: 2,701 people, number of valid responses: 2,354, response rate excluding deceased: 87.2%)
(- New subjects of Wave 5– sample size excluding deceased: 1,979 people, number of valid responses: 1,635 people, response rate excluding deceased: 82.6%)

Wave 6:
- Sample size excluding deceased: 3,877 people, number of valid responses: 3,245 people, response rate excluding deceased: 83.7%
(- Follow-up respondents up to Wave 4 – sample size excluding deceased: 2,427 people, number of valid responses: 1,999 people, response rate excluding deceased: 82.4%)
(- New subjects of Wave 5– sample size excluding deceased: 1,450 people, number of valid responses: 1,246 people, response rate excluding deceased: 85.9%)
*The number of responses includes respondents to proxy surveys (see [Mode of Data Collection] below).
Date of Collection 1999-10 ~ 1999-10
Time Period 1999 ~ 1999
Spatial Unit Japan
Sampling Procedure Probability: Stratified
Probability: Multistage
Wave 5:
- Follow-up subjects up to Wave 4: individuals who had participated at least once up to Wave 4 (1996)
- New subjects in Wave 5: Sample of 2000 people in the eligible age group extracted through two-stage stratified random sampling using 11 regional blocks nationwide and city size strata.

Wave 6:
- Individuals who had participated at least once up to Wave 5
Mode of Data Collection Face-to-face interview
Face-to-face interview using a questionnaire sheet

*While the survey, as a general rule, was carried out as an interview with the target individual, a proxy survey was completed by a family member, etc. in the case that the target individual could not respond because of serious illness, etc.
Investigator Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology (Currently known as Tokyo Metropolitan Geriatric Hospital), University of Michigan, and The University of Tokyo, survey carried out by the Central Research Services Inc.
DOI 10.34500/SSJDA.0823
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 [Questionnaire]
Major Survey Items (1) Basic attributes, etc.

Regional characteristics, situation of moving, month and year of birth, gender, years of schooling, parents’ highest level of educational attainment, death situation, etc.

(2) Work
Whether or not respondent is currently working/attributes (employment status, size by number of employees, occupation type), number of working days/hours, whether or not retired/year, attributes of the longest-held job, etc.

(3) Family
Marital status, year of marriage, time of divorce, number of children, children’s attributes (gender, age, marital status, etc.), number of cohabitants, cohabitants’ relationship/age/gender, adult children/children living separately/grandchildren, spouse’s work/health, support for children, etc. 

(4) Social relationships (other than family)/social support
Friends/neighbors/participation in groups (number of close friends, number of neighborhood relationships, frequency of contact with friends/neighbors/relatives, groups participated in, feeling of isolation, etc.), receipt of social support (listeners, people who show kindness, people respondent can rely on to receive care for illness/to receive financial support, etc.), negative support (requests for help from people around, etc.), provision of social support (listening to others, encouraging others, providing long-term/nursing care for family members/relatives, etc.)
(5) Physical health
Diseases, visual acuity, hearing ability, etc. (chronic diseases, urinary incontinence within one year, etc.), ADL/IADL/physical function (daily motion, ability for instrumental activities of daily living, presence of helpers/frequency, physical ability, etc.), subjective feeling of health (level of health compared with same generation/one year ago, etc.), etc.

(6) Health-related behavior  
Use of medical institutions/health and welfare services (number of visits to doctors, number of days hospitalized, home-visit nursing care, short stays, etc.), height/body weight, lifestyle habits (frequency of garden work, doing exercise/taking a walk, drinking/smoking, etc.), etc. 

(7) Mental health/subjective feeling of happiness
Cognition function, scale of depression, scale of life satisfaction level, existence of “something to live for,” concerns about future life, satisfaction level by area (health condition, financial situation, work, spouse, family, friends, overall life)

(8) Finance
Real estate (type of housing, title/size of condominium and land, inheritance of real estate, etc. from deceased spouse, etc.), income/savings (annual income of respondent and spouse combined, annual income of the household as a whole, source of income, trouble making ends meet, financial conditions compared with people of the same generation), expenditure (person paying expenditure, minimum amount necessary to cover monthly living expenses, reaching into savings to get by), etc.
(9) Other
Life events/stress (experience of losing a child, experience of losing siblings/close friends within a year, etc.), feeling of financial control, family norms (supporting or caring for old parents, inheritance of real estate, etc.), religion (daily religious behavior, frequency of religious activities, etc.), etc.
(10) Observation by survey staff
Whether or not there was an accompanying person, level of understanding/level of cooperation of subject, etc.
*For details of survey items, please refer to the questionnaire.
*Please refer to the codebook provided with the data for differences in survey items between Wave 5 and Wave 6, and items in common with previous Waves.
Date of Release 2012/10/24
Topics in CESSDA Click here for details

Income, property and investment/saving
General health and well-being
Family life and marriage
Religion and values
Social behaviour and attitudes
Topics in SSJDA Health/Medical Care
Version 1 : 2012-10-24
Notes for Users - When merging with data up to Wave 4, please check the notes in the Wave 5 and Wave 6 codebook.

- Outputs such as articles/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.

- Details regarding how to acknowledge the data source can be also found in the "Readme" file sent along with the data.