Abe's 'social security for all' a daunting task for aging Japan

By Noriyuki Suzuki

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Does this planned new social security system include foreign nationals?

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Let the corporations like; Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Kawasaki, Hitachi, Sumitomo and Mizuho shoulder the burden of increasing tax revenue by paying more taxes!! The old-generation, who layed the foundation for today's modern Japan should receive their rightful money and care regardless!

You can't deny that Japan has reached the 5th stage of the Demographic-scale, which indicates a negative population growth and a rising elderly-wave. The large corporations in Japan should pay their workers and the Government more, instead of lending money to expand overseas! Prioritate your population first, instead of conquering the world economically.

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The government should take a rational, scientific approach and continue to put more funding into biotech, genetic and longevity research. I'm not sold on the therapies being trialed in this Keio study but there is a ton of experimentation in these areas and if even a few provide modest life extension with better health that may make the difference for those of us who are already old.


The trial will be run by Keio University in Japan with help from Washington University in St. Louis. The issue of ageing is of course a hot topic in Japan, where 40 percent of the population will be over 65 by the year 2055.

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Means in reality that Japan will have low wages for many years to come.

Low wages, high prices, raised taxes.

Japan probably won’t accept immigration en mass either.

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3rd biggest economy 1 in 7 in poverty dismal birth rate soon 40% population over 65 low salary high tax, big thank you to the LDP for their forward looking policies that have made Japan Beautiful.

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I do not feel any wisdom in this pessimistic article. All have been told again and again. I think Japan will come up with some kind of solution for this problem showing a good example to tackle the issue which other countries also will face in the future. It came to Japan only early. People did not expect the time will come most of the population live 80 and over.

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to remodel the existing system, seen as friendlier to the elderly, in favor of younger generations 

This statement should read, "at the expense of younger generations". It's quite obvious that Japan's economic growth over the last 50-60 years has been poorly managed. Japan held the number one position in world economies for 3 decades during the 60's, 70's and 80's and was a rich country. However, it's clear that during that time they did nothing to prepare for the future. Now, the economy has stalled and slumped with lower salaries, lower consumer spending, lower manufacturing and a decreasing workforce putting way too much financial pressure on the current generation. The pension system is a total bust, so much so that they have put the funds into the international stock market in an attempt to gamble profits. Where did the money go from the boom years?

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Japan needs to further modernize elderly care facilities in order to support a high number of individuals, with proper care, using as little money as possible. Sure... easier said than done, of course, but it needs to be drawn up and managed. Incorporating as much volunteerism as possible. Possibly those volunteers themselves, if and when they're in need of such a facility, could enjoy lower fees. It is Japan... and actually just about anywhere in the world, if you do have money, the government will drain your account to the point your children will be left with zero for end of life healthcare. So let those in their 60's and 70's volunteer more and let them build up credits towards end of life care themselves. With proper planning and design... it does not have to be some massive end of life debacle but Japan needs to act. Many countries do.

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As to better social security benefits or not everything seems depending on money for aging country with lower birthrate.

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The difference in evaluating Japan and other first world countries going through a demographic crisis, for one, is that Japan still has a strong economy for the future, even if it isnt growing.

Japan’s elder population is also very wealthy and has tons of savings and property which they will give to their 30-40 year old kidz.

Also Japan is very united mentally and are probably willing to make sacrifices to deal with the results of their actions. That is not something a lot nations can say they can do, or not with the same efficiency.

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What you say is correct, The economy is healtthy, but stagnated.

The elderly with large amounts of savings really need to start releasing this back into the economy (a form of quantitative easing).

Higher tax, in my opinion would only reduce spending further, and too much welfare can create a dependancy culture.

Looking to the future, I dont see any easy answers. Young people will have to pay the price for the money squandered during the boom years.

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Social security for all (those who are not of working age, the rest will become heavely taxed, and can die of overwork)

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It's no denying that Japan faces an enormous challenge. However, there are few things that are going for Japan.

(1) If you look at Japan's population pyramid, you will find that there are two separate baby boomer generations in Japan, and the second generation will be largely still in work force when the first one retires. And the retiree population will actually decrease for a decade or so (due to the population drop between the two baby boomer generations) before the second one start retiring.

(2) Major Japanese companies are international. Their products are produced abroad and generally popular abroad as well. In other words, Japanese companies can find both workers and customers of their products abroad and bring back profits to Japan.

(3) Japanese are relatively healthy in old age, and many seem to be willing to work as long as their health allow them. Japan can create an economy where elderly can contribute in work force as long as they wish.

(4) Still significant number of Japanese women are not in workforce. Japan can create an economy where Japanese women can contribute in work instead of them spending too much time for creating cute bento for children.

(5) Japanese are less pessimistic about living with robots. Hopefully they keep dreaming and investing for such future.

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@socrateos - 2) Major Japanese companies are international. Their products are produced abroad and generally popular abroad as well. In other words, Japanese companies can find both workers and customers of their products abroad and bring back profits to Japan.

This is true to a point, but no longer a reality. The multitude of recent scandals involving Japanese companies has severely damaged consumer confidence in Japanese products. Plus, most Japanese products are overpriced and consumers are buying cheaper alternatives made in other parts of Asia. Japan can no longer rely on international markets to prop up its economy. Japan's economy needs to be rebooted domestically and not by over taxing the minions to support the wasteful policies of old. A good place to start would be to eliminate its agricultural price fixing and subsidising practices to bring prices down of local produce to increase sales. Then, they need to address all these 'gift money' fees that appear in property leasing and any other things that involves a contract renewal fees. That is just plain extortion! You pay an extra month's rent when you renew your rental lease. You pay an extra month's rent when you renew your car parking contract. You pay stupid amounts of 'unspecified' fees when you renew your car registration. I got my car done for under ¥70,000, but if I took my car to a dealer it would have been nearly three times that price. This is where the Japanese economy fails. All these hidden 'gift money' fees are putting too much pressure on Taro Average and stopping consumer spending. Stop the extortion!

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Japan's elderly get half their assets taken away when they die. So their kids have to convince them to sign everything over to them and hope for the best ( especially that your kids don't abandon you to an old age home...)

Japan is a mono-lingual and mon-cultural and nearly mono-minded nation... besides a few bad eggs, they never rebel or go against the towable line.

My solution is to allow kids to work part-time with full pension security ( regardless of incomes) and let them be a host- residence for the elderly. So imagine a bunch of hippie kids in an old rundown country house with a custom communal bath and shared/rotating duties ( late night poopoo watch included), give them what they want ( the WHOLE package of hippie life- god knows those old folkies need a bit o' the green) and the whole thing will run on a room and board fee system. It will happen eventually with the increase in single elderly folks ( no children, thus they are left all alone with no one to bear the costs of burial even...) The hippies will find a local temple priest to come, the state covers the cremation, and the remains can be buried out back the side o' the mountain...amongst the cultivation of sacred plants...ha Gonna happen, too!

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Pension payments have not always been enforced, used to be that if you did not pay, nothing was said, but that has changed and they will send you a bill and ask you to pay, I fell a few months behind once and forgot all about it and went to ask about it a few years back and they said that they sent the notice and I did not pay it, so they just deducted it from what I will receive in benefits. They should have done like most countries and had it deducted from everyone's pay, but they went on the honor system and a lot of people did not pay in enough to receive anything, so they are now on welfare, the government has no one to blame but themselves for this crisis!

Another problem for me was that three companies that I worked for spelled my name just a little different, and that caused a lot of confusion, they did a good job of getting it all pieced together, but I think I may have lost a few months in the process.

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The old people who laid the foundations for modern Japan also built up a huge national debt. Servicing it costs the government 25% of its budget. That's 25% of all the money going on buying back bonds that have matured or servicing interest on the debt. The social welfare budget is largest at about 33% of government spending, but debt servicing comes second. Construction/public works and education are about 6% each. I think defence is around that too. Next time you want to blame bridges to nowhere or whatever Alex Kerr says in Dogs and Demons, public works is only 6% of the budget, plus whatever comes up with natural disasters.

I'm a social democrat/liberal/whatever, so I agree that it would be nice to treat old people and the needy in general better. You cannot pay for that with historic IOUs though. Other countries with lower life expectancies are raising the age you can receive a pension. Realistically Japan is going to have to do the same. It's no good saying "I paid in all my life" or "I paid taxes all my life" if the amount was insufficient. You also can't have women work and pay pension contributions for three or four years, stopping paying in when they get married, and then receive a free pension (yes, I know its 60,000 yen a month) for twenty or thirty years until they die at 90 something. They are getting out twenty times what they paid in.

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When complaining it is hard to pay retirees, it must be remembered that many retirees are quite capable of working and many want to continue working. However, they are not allowed to because the reached a magic number.

It should also remembered that Taro Aso thinks old people should die so that the country doesn't have to pay for the welfare they have paid for. It is hard to pay the welfare bills because the government has already spent the contributions on other projects.

And we read this just days after the government decides to spend, or should I say waste a fortune on US made weapons.

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