Given the phenomenon of rapid ageing, providing people with better incentives and choices to work at an older age is tremendously important, both in order to promote economic growth and to help sustain public social expenditures. Therefore, in 2011 the OECD Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (ELS) Committee decided to carry out a new series of policy reviews to encourage greater labour market participation at an older age, by fostering employability, job mobility and labour demand. It builds upon previous work that the OECD has conducted in this area in the Ageing and Employment Policies series, summarised in the Organisation’s major cross-country report Live Longer, Work Longer, published in 2006.

This report on Japan is the last of the nine OECD country case studies comprising this new series of reviews. It points to areas where changes or new reforms are needed in Japan to improve work incentives and employment opportunities at an older age. Other countries in the series include Denmark, France, Korea, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Switzerland and the United States.

Drawing on the findings of these comparative policy reviews of recent reforms a synthesis report entitled Working Better with Age will be prepared in 2019 to highlight key issues and policy recommendations.

This report was prepared by Nicola Duell, Yusuke Inoue, Mark Keese (Head of Division), and Shruti Singh. Statistical work was provided by Dana Blumin and Duncan MacDonald and technical assistance by Monica Meza-Essid. Editorial assistance was provided by Lucy Hulett. Valuable comments were provided by Stefano Scarpetta (ELS Director). The report also benefited greatly from discussions with government officials, employer and trade union representatives, and other experts during an OECD mission to Japan in October 2017 and from comments provided by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

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