Japan’s Approach to Elderly

The beginning of this month saw an unprecedented tackling by global policy makers of the burgeoning cost of the elderly along with depleting birthrates. Fittingly the meeting between G20 finance ministers was held in Japan, a country already encountering domestic issues from the increase in the elderly population and a decrease in the birthrate. Taro Aso, Japan’s Finance Minister explained:

“What we are saying is, ‘If the issue of ageing starts to show its impact before you become wealthy, you really won’t be able to take effective measures against it’.”

In other words – from Japan’s experience – the more pro-active we are now, the better it will be before the population of elderly negatively impacts the economy. The OECD’s findings have already shown that increased life expectancy and lowered birthrates among wealthier nations are impacting the number of elderly leaning on the economy. The OECD also found that by 2050 the world will probably have more than double the amount of people over 60 than it had just two years ago.

Why is this?  The labor force is affected with Japanese firms left unable to fill employment vacancies. Yet older people are staying longer at their jobs to guard against financial distress.

One idea being promoted to deal with this is for “young people to prepare better for their financial future.” Plus, changes must be made in society on how it “organizes itself.”  Indeed, as Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”