Japanese govt to expand 'working age population' to up to age 70

Japanese govt to expand 'working age population' to up to age 70
Elderly people take a rest on benches in Tokyo on October 28, 2011.

The government intends to expand its definition of the working age population to include ages up to 70, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned from a proposal suggested by an advisory committee belonging to the government's Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy.

The proposal also suggests that the government double its budget related to benefits for childbirth and child-rearing. With those two measures, the government aims to support elderly people and women who continue working as well as increase the birth rate, for the purpose of maintaining a population level of about 100 million in the 2060s (50 years from now), according to sources.

The Committee for Japan's Future-chaired by Akio Mimura, the head of the Japan Chamber of Commerce and Industry-had been examining measures to mitigate a drop in population and an extraordinarily high proportion of elderly people in society. The proposal will be submitted to the economic policy council head by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in mid-May and will be included in the basic policies for economic and fiscal reform to be concluded by the government in June.

The Japanese population in 2060 is estimated to be around 87 million, two-thirds of the current population, and it is estimated that around 40 per cent of people will be older than 65. With this in mind, the committee concluded that a system is needed under which "those who are highly motivated to work can display their abilities irrespective of age or gender."

As for elderly people, the proposal suggests increasing the job opportunities available to workers, and supporting the continued employment of those aged up to 70 through measures such as post-retirement reemployment programs. Also, the proposal newly designates those aged 20 to 70 as "the new productive age population," and estimates that the population will number about 48 million in 2060. Under the current definition of productive age population-15 to 64-the population is about 44 million.

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