Japanese resigned to working past retirement to make ends meet

2006

Japanese resigned to working past retirement to make ends meet

The vast majority of older Japanese workers believe they will have to continue working after their retirement if they are going to have enough to live on, a survey has suggested.

The study by more than 750 people by the organisation Nihon Keizai Shimbun found 74.3 per cent of baby boomers in employment, who would begin retiring from 2007, were unlikely to be able to stop working completely.

The vast majority – 65.6 per cent – said insufficient public pension money was the main reason for this.

Nearly half, or 48.3 per cent, said they expected a retirement allowance of between zero and five million yen (£24,800).

This compared with the 20-30 million yen (£100,000-£150,000) an employee typically received upon retiring from a major corporation.

On the plus side, a survey by recruiter Manpower late last year suggested Japan expected this year to increase the rate at which it hired people, compared with the final three months of 2005.

The country's plunging birth rate has also resulted in radical shifts in the way the employment of women is viewed.

In December, Japanese Prime Minister Junichuro Koizumi pushed through a gender equality plan aimed to put more women in leadership positions.

Currently more than two-thirds of Japanese women do not return to work after childbirth, and just 11 per cent of management positions in the country were held by women in 2004, up from 8.3 per cent in 2001.

The plan has included measures such as granting flexible hours and training programmes to women who return to work after maternity leave, using vacant shop space for childcare centres and offering more financial support for female entrepreneurs.