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Working Better with Age: Japan

image of Working Better with Age: Japan

Currently, Japan has the highest old-age dependency ratio of all OECD countries, with a ratio in 2017 of over 50 persons aged 65 and above for every 100 persons aged 20 to 64. This ratio is projected to rise to 79 per hundred in 2050. The rapid population ageing in Japan is a major challenge for achieving further increases in living standards and ensuring the financial sustainability of public social expenditure. However, with the right policies in place, there is an opportunity to cope with this challenge by extending working lives and making better use of older workers' knowledge and skills. This report investigates policy issues and discusses actions to retain and incentivise the elderly to work more by further reforming retirement policies and seniority-wages, investing in skills to improve productivity and keeping up with labour market changes through training policy, and ensuring good working conditions for better health with tackling long-hours working culture.

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Foreword

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.

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