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Dataset: Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement (JSTAR)

Basic Information
Dataset Full Name Japanese Study of Aging and Retirement
Dataset Acronym JSTAR

JSTAR is a longitudinal survey of the Japanese aging population 50 years and older living in 10 metropolitan areas. It is designed to be comparable with the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, the English ELSA, and the European SHARE studies. The study began in 2007 and subsequent follow-up was conducted in 2009. In 2009 new samples were recruited from two additional municipalities. The 2011 survey included follow-ups for the 2007 and 2009 sample as well as new samples from three additional municipalities.

Key Terms
  • Aging, Longitudinal, Health
  • Social participation, Social and family networks
  • Health services utilization, Health expenses, Long-term care, Nursing care
  • Health risk behaviors, Chronic disease, Health trajectories, Childhood circumstances
  • Depression, Cognition, Satisfaction with life
  • Employment, Retirement, Income, Pension, Assets, Consumption and Expenditures
Study Design Longitudinal
Data Type(s) Survey
Sponsoring Agency/Entity

Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japan

Health Conditions/Disability Measures
Health Condition(s)

Alzheimer's/dementia, Arthritis, Body mass index (BMI)/obesity, Cancer, Cardiovascular conditions, Depression, Diabetes, Eye diseases, Osteoporosis, Parkinson's disease, Pulmonary disorders, Traumatic brain injury (TBI)

Disability Measures

Functional limitations (ADLs and/or IADLs), Hearing disability, Visual disability

Self-reported health status, CESD depression scale, Mental health,  Grip strength, 10-world list for memory recall

Measures/Outcomes of Interest
  • Regional variations in health risks and health behaviors
  • Health and disability in the elderly 
  • Social support, family structure and social participation
  • Retirement and  and economic well-being
Sample Population

Adults over 50 years old, living in one of 10 metropolitan areas

Sample Size/Notes 4,163 at baseline (2007)
Unit of Observation



Asia, Oceania



Geographic Coverage

10 Municipalities:

  • Adachi, Kanazawa, Shirakawa, Sendai, Takikawa (2007, 2009, 2011)
  • Tosu and Naha (2009, 2011)
  • Chofu, Tondabayashi, Hiroshima (2011)
Geographic Specificity

No geographic identifiers available in the basic "High" confidentiality level data

Municipality identifier available in "Very high" confidentiality level data

"Ultra high" confidentiality level data includes  (**very restricted access**)

Special Population(s)

Aging/Older people

Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
  • Computer assisted personal interviews (CAPI)
  • Self-completed questionnaires
Years Collected


Data Collection Frequency

Every 2 years

Strengths and Limitations
  • Representative sample of the Japanese aging population living in the 10 selected municipalities
  • Can be used for longitudinal analyses on health risk factors and on the interactions of health and disability with social and economic aspects of life.
  • The study can be compared with other similar aging studies, such as the European SHARE and US HRS study, allowing for comparisons of trends among different countries
  • Sample not nationally representative - limited to 10 municipalities
  • Attrition and loss to follow up.
  • Not all participants/regions were enrolled in each wave.
  • Information on earlier life medical history and was self-reported and collected retrospectively.
  • No biomarkers or physical examination information
  • Application for data access is an involved process
Data Details
Primary Website

Data Access

Application Criteria for Use of the JSTAR Datasets:

Data Access Requirements

Data Use application, No cost  (for basic "High" confidentiality level data)

Extensive application requirements for "Very high" and "Ultra high" confidentiality level data 

Summary Tables/Reports

JSTAR First Results 2009 Report

Data Components
  • 2007  1st wave (Adachi, Kanazawa, Shirakawa, Sendai, and Takikawa) 
  • 2009  1st wave (Tosu and Naha) 
  • 2009 2nd wave (Adachi, Kanazawa, Shirakawa, Sendai, and Takikawa) 
  • 2011 1st wave (Chofu, Tondabayashi, and Hiroshima) 
  • 2011 2nd wave (Tosu and Naha) and 3rd wave (Adachi, Kanazawa, Shirakawa, Sendai, and Takikawa) 
Similar/Related Dataset(s)

Other longitudinal ageing studies:

Selected Papers
Other Papers

Probing the Issue of Health Disparities: High correlation with income and education - Policies based on the premise of homogeneity should be reconsidered 


Stability of Preference against Aging and Health Shocks: A comparison between Japan and the United States


Toward a Comprehensive Resolution of the Social Security Problem: A new economics of aging


Regional Variations in Access to Healthcare among Japanese Individuals over 50 Years Old: An analysis using JSTAR


JSTAR First Results 2009 Report

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The Rehabilitation Research Cross-dataset Variable Catalog has been developed through the Center for Large Data Research & Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR). The Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation involves a consortium of investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Cornell University's Yang Tan Institute (YTI), and the University of Michigan. The CLDR is funded by NIH - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering. (P2CHD065702).

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Acknowledgements: This tool was developed through the efforts of William Erickson and Arun Karpur, and web designers Jason Criss and Jeff Trondsen at Cornell University. Many thanks to graduate students Kyoung Jo Oh and Yeong Joon Yoon who developed much of the content used in this tool.

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