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Japan's seniors work on into retirement

By Patrice Novotny

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My stepfather had to take sometime off after he hit 70 for heart problems. The day he went back to work he looked like he did when he was 50. His brothers both retired look like they are just waiting to get old and pass on.

In some ways the daily grind keep people young and happy. As long as the work isn't demeaning and something they enjoy. Some people work for the money, my grandfather still farms at 90 because he likes it.

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“I’ve never really considered if my work is fun or not,” said Seichiro Fukui,...." I intend to work until I drop".

So it would appear the concept of fun has never occurred to Mr. Fukui. How very sad.

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Well, if they need to keep working to feel that they are still useful, that's good for them. As for me, I'll be retiring and enjoying my hobbies, free time, etc., the first chance I get.

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all this work and the japanese economy is awful and getting worse

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If there wasnt any work for these people, it would have to be invented. Just as Orwells farm animals were convinced that a life of drudgery is no life of drudgery at all but freedom of the highest order, so too do Japan`s diligent multitudes accept it as their lot in life. With other countries cutting back on generous welfare provisions, the challenge to Japan has been thrown down and with barely a murmur of disapproval, the country is rising to the occasion. Soylent Green was a paradisical horn of plenty, compared with what lies in store for these people.

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Mocheake writes above: "if they need to keep working to feel that they are still useful, that's good for them. As for me, I'll be retiring and enjoying my hobbies, free time, etc., the first chance I get."

Well ... I hope Mocheake has a lot of money saved up ... because retiring here in Japan and elsewhere today requires relying on something stashed away somewhere. Just living only on Social Security and pension payments is difficult to do anymore.

Looking at life over in the United States, I've had one too many friends go under by attempting to live solely on their retirement funds.

As for the story above ... yes, seniors do continue to work. My Japanese boss is 88 years old and still going strong. A Japanese brother-in-law, who is a first-class carpenter, is 82 and still working despite suffering a stroke last year. Another Japanese brother-in-law is 65 and still doing restaurant work. And I have Japanese neighbors in these age ranges who are also still toiling away. I feel that they stay "young" and remain rather healthy mainly because they have something to do ... and are still relied on by society to to something worthwhile.

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Edojin< good post. Personally I think if you want to keep working then fine but to collect a pension and then get another job or continue working is selfish as you are denying a younger person the chance of full employment. If they want to do something to stay active then volunteer. To take tax payers money in the form of a pension and then not give a vacancy to a younger person is selfish and contributes to the problems that Japan faces.

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What spudmanreincarnated says above is true ... but if your retirement payments can't cover your daily living, then you have no choice but to go out and earn enough money to help pay the rent and, above all, to continue to eat. Perhaps I should have added that to the end of the item I posted earlier herewith ..

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This article & the one on elderly crime both point to the fact the pension systems are already broke, which we all know, I know, but while I agree keeping active is key to staying healthy longer, if one doesnt need the $$$ I not be working thats for sure.

These people who do the same thing until they can no longer work do not lead the kind of live I live, no bloody thx! Just imagine only seeing the insides of your house & a teashop or similar & pretty much nothing else.........yada!

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Bravo for the oldies.

I know someone in the UK who is working (gently) past 80. As he admits, he is lucky to have a job that he enjoys, and that does not require serious physical effort. Not so long ago, such jobs were a minority, and perhaps they still are. It certainly keeps him young and active, just like the seniors in this story. I hope I can emulate them.

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My Lebanese grandmother worked in Canada until she was 79 years old... And it was a good thing because she helped me get through university with her income... Over time and with living in Japan I more and more appreciate the idea of continuing with some form of employment as long as possible. I also feel a major responsibility to be the custodian of my older self... This must all be balanced out with living fully each day as my mother taught me buy exiting this world on her 60th birthday. Don't wait for retirement to find fulfillment.

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Just to get away from a nagging wife I will work till I die.

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If you are still able to work and enjoy it, why not? but I think these people are a minority. a lot of people are crippled with arthritis or other ailments by their late 60s and 70s. I think you are lucky to make it to that age and still BE ABLE to work. As for these people who have done nothing but work their entire lives, I imagine they do not even know their kids. They have missed the greatest joy in life. Getting to know your children as people.

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personally, aside from money, i think some people feel the need to work cause they have no other life outside of work. if you like work and it gives your life meaning, the more power to you. personally, i think i could find enough things to do to occupy my time and give my life meaning even if i didn't work. the problem is having the money!

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Edojin, I plan on retiring in a place where the cost of living is about one-tenth of what it is here. That, along with investments, a pension and social security hopefully will be enough. You have to be close to rich to retire in this country. I prefer the tropics anyway. Warm weather and warmer people, in general.

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Another thing, fellow long timers do you wanna die here? ie grow old here, its pretty grim, next to nothing for old folks & if you aint got $$$$ your pretty much SOL!

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A wise old man said "When you rest, you rust" How true this is in today's economy

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Some real hard working and dedicated folks out there.

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I'll probably work til I die...which considering how much I hate my job I hope it happens in the next 2 or 3 minutes.

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I say, there is no other choice, if they don't work they'll be out on the street homeless.

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If it is at all financially possible, by all means quit work and occupy your time with more meaningful things (unless you're a physician or some vital work]. Try to return to the feelings of love you felt for your spouse when you were both young and full of hope. Walk arm in arm up the hills....cling to each other. You have fought the hard battle of life together.

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Ah, the tradgedy that is Japan.

These people keep working to feel they are needed. And what for. Just proves the point that Japanese have difficulties knowing how to enjoy themselves. I feel that these old people are. Way to indoctrinated by former politicians, asking them to "do their best for their country". When all these people are gone, and they will be soon, Japan is going to change drastically.

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The place where I park my bicycle by the station is staffed by all-elderly gentlemen. I'm often amused and a little saddened that their little "hut" (office) is always full with three or four of them working at a time .. when really there isn't anything to do. Very nice people: they always say "Itterashai" and "Otsukare desu" and bow when I go in and out.

What is there to do when you retire here? If you have the money you travel around, I suppose (there are always bus loads of seniors on tour of someplace.) Or, you ride your bike to the local park and play gate ball every morning with everyone else.

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