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Japan – World leaders in employing the elderly

18 February 2014

Japan now employs more than 10% of its working population from those aged 65 years and older, reports japandailypress.com. This is in stark contrast to its Western counterparts whose employment of those aged 65 years and older remains between 1% and 5% of the total employed population.

While Japan’s so-called ‘productive age’ population, those aged between 15 to 64 years, decreased by 1.23 million last year, the number of employed people increased by 410,000. A feat that the nation owes to its industries and companies who continue to hire people over the age of 65.

One example is the construction industry that has increased its rebuilding works in tsunami-hit towns in the Tohoku region and is preparing for the 2020 Olympics, which have created more jobs. Few young people apply for these positions leaving more and more contractors to recruit veteran workers.

Koichi Obara, President of Maeda Corp, a construction and engineering company, said: “We are going to recruit people with dependable skills who can be self-starters.”

The participation rates of older Japanese workers in the labour market are high. Six out on 10 (60.5%) of those aged between 60 and 64, and 38.2% of those aged between 65 and 69 participate in the labour market, compared with 47% and 23.5%, respectively, on average in the OECD countries.

Kenji Yumoto of Japan’s Research Institute’s noted: “There is a need to create an environment where older people’s skills are valued and where they can earn the same pay for their particular job or skills regardless of whether they work full-time or on contract.”


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