8 in 10 middle-aged Japanese aren’t ready to retire


An employee works at a 7-Eleven convenience store in Tokyo, Japan December 6, 2017. Source: Reuters/Toru Hanai

ALMOST 80 percent of workers in their 50s and early 60s want to continue working past the regular retirement age, a new survey has shown.

The Meiji Yasuda Institute of Life and Wellness survey found that just 2 in 10 said that they would not continue to work due to a lack of opportunity, deteriorating health or needing to care for other family members, the Nikkei Asian Review reported.

At present, Japanese retirees can begin receiving government-provided pensions at any time between the ages of 60 and 70.

But according to the Meiji Yasuda survey, a majority of respondents 50 to 64 said that the needed to continue working fulltime in order to pay the bills.

Between 30 and 50 percent of people said they wanted to “keep purpose or excitement” in their lives – a response which was more common among older respondents.

Japan has a history of overwork, with its language even having a word for death from working too much: Karōshi.

In 2013, a 31-year-old journalist at the public broadcaster NHK died of heart failure after she worked 159 hours of overtime and only two days off for one month.

Nevertheless, the government is debating a set of changes which would push the mandatory retirement age for civil servants from 60 to 65.

In February, it raised the optional pension age to 71 in order to encourage people in their 60s to continue working – a change which will take place in 2020.

Japan has the oldest population in the world with more than a quarter of its population above the age of 65, meaning it suffers labour shortages and large public expenditure on services for the elderly.

Source: 8 in 10 middle-aged Japanese aren’t ready to retire

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