Japan’s government recently released data showing that the number of workers aged 60 years and above reached record highs in 2012. Last year there were around 11.92 million elderly workers, making up around 20 percent of Japan’s labor force.
According to Japan’s Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry, these numbers in 2012 rose by 170,000 compared to 2011. The number of elderly workers rose by 3.1 million in the last decade, a growth of almost 5 percent of the total of the whole workforce in that span of time, according to the local press.
The number of elderly workers started to rise in 2007, when many “baby boomers” born in the late 1940s began turning 60. This also reflects the situation of Japan’s pension system, which set the mandatory retirement at the age of 60 before 2006. After that, a law revision asked companies to keep paying elderly employees 60 to 65 years old if they wanted to continue working.
Of all people aged 60 to 64 in Japan, more than half of those – at 57.7 percent – continued to work in 2012, mainly because the pension has decreased.
Considering that Japan has the fastest aging population in the developed countries, its system is overwhelmed by the immense number of elderly people and a falling birthrate is not helping at all, the local press comments.