>> It's not a scene you'd expect from a hardened criminal in a high security prison. A light stretching session in the sun, alphabet recital, followed by a day of paper folding projects. This is a rare look into a prison adopting to aging Japan where almost 20% of the country's inmates are over 60.
Reuters visited the Tokushima facility, which is have to move its elderly inmates to a special building with carers.>>
> I have a heart condition. I used to faint a lot at the factory.
>> Many of them are serving life sentences for murder, rape, or both, but they're also losing their mobility. Reuters has been asked to mask their faces and voices to protect their identities.>>
>> At 81, this prisoner can't do regular work, like making shoes or underwear anymore. He killed a taxi driver six decades ago. Though released twice, he wound up back in prison for drinking while on parole. He hopes he'll be let out again so he can see his 103-year-old mother.
His story is not unique, about a quarter of convicts over 65 in Japan are repeat offenders. Reuters' Kiyoshi Takenaka spoke to one inmate who fears he could become one of them.>> This person in the early 70s, he's quite worried about life after prison and to illustrate his point, he said, he doesn't even know anything about smart phones.
That's a tiny example, but somehow illustrates how big a problem he could be facing after leaving the prison.>> Experts say that says a lot about the state of play in the outside world that they're trying to reintegrate into. Jobs are scarce for the old as is shelter.
Some are anxious to leave prison, others willingly go back.