As France prepares for weeks, if not months, of bitter social struggles to maintain the statutory retirement age of 62, Japan is questioning whether to move to 70 in a country where a large majority of seniors are still working.
It’s a different country, a different system, a different culture. There are certainly other working conditions… Nevertheless, working until the age of 70 in Japan is by no means a taboo subject. The employment rate for the 55-64 age group is 78.1% there, according to the latest OECD figures, compared to 57.2% in France. For those aged 65 to 70, this rate is 48.4%, even though the statutory retirement age in Japan is 65! In some companies it is even lowered to 60.
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In a country with an aging population, where seniors make up almost a third of the population – 10 percentage points more than in France – such an employment rate is essential to “maintain the pay-as-you-go pension system”, the French executive is fond of repeating. Also, the cost of living there is so high compared to the level of pensions that many Japanese living in big cities cannot really afford to retire.
companies meeting there
Nevertheless, long-term work in Japan is just as much about economic necessity as it is about a certain philosophy of life. Companies are not at all resistant to this. You will find a pool of labor in the older population with opportunities for part-time contracts. In any case, many measures have been taken to force these companies to find a place for seniors who want to pursue a professional activity.
After all, active living is seen as a good way to stay healthy. In Japan, undoubtedly more than in any other country, retirement represents that “little death” that French workers fear less.