Society 5.0 – A new model for an ageing society?


Society 5.0

Society 5.0 is a new concept launched by Japan in its 5th Science and Technology Basic Plan (2016–2020), as a way to guide and mobilize action in science, technology and innovation (STI) to achieve a prosperous, sustainable and inclusive future.

Following the hunting society (Society 1.0), the agricultural society (Society 2.0), the industrial society (Society 3.0) and the information society (Society 4.0), the far-reaching policies of Society 5.0 propose a new transformation of contemporary ways of life. 

Society 5.0 aims to resolve a range of modern social challenges by incorporating game-changing innovations such as the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data into all industries and social activities. Rather than a future controlled and monitored by AI and robots, technology is harnessed to achieve a human-centred society in which all members of society can lead an active and enjoyable life. Within the context of ever-growing digital connectivity and expanding use of AI technologies, several actions have been initiated under this flagship concept by the Japanese government as well as by the private sector.

In February 2020, Professor Harayama Yuko, Professor Emeritus at Tōhoku University and former Executive Member of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation of the Cabinet Office of Japan spoke at Japan House London. In her talk, Professor Harayama shed light on how this concept has been adopted in Japanese society, with a particular focus on the societal challenge of ‘ageing.’

About Professor Harayama

Professor Emeritus at Tōhoku University, Professor Harayama Yuko is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Elsevier Foundation, ORCID and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee for the French National Research Agency (ANR). She is a former Executive Member of the Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI) at the Cabinet Office of Japan, and the former Deputy Director of the Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). She is a Légion d'honneur recipient (Chevalier) and was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Neuchâtel. Previously, she was Professor in the Department of Management Science and Technology at the Graduate School of Engineering of Tōhoku University. She holds a PhD in Education Sciences and a PhD in Economics, both from the University of Geneva.