Prime Minister Shinzo Abe Photo: REUTERS file
politics

Abe criticized in Diet after pension report highlights income-savings gap

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By Linda Sieg and Kiyoshi Takenaka

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But the furor over the report and Finance Minister Taro Aso’s refusal to accept its findings have created a headache for Abe’s coalition ahead of the upper house poll and amid speculation that the premier may also call a snap election for the more powerful lower chamber.

Please, it's only a coalition within the LDP and Komeito, they are not going to split up over this. If this is a "headache" for Abe, then I suppose all the rest of the scandals he has been accused of in the past are akin to a stubbed toe!

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Asked what would happen if the opposition submitted a censure motion in the upper house, or a no-confidence motion in the lower chamber, Abe said: "I'm leaving everything to the Diet and it is impossible to predict."

On another note, this "furor" , rather timely if you ask me, will give Abe the perfect opportunity to dissolve the lower house and call for an election, which would run jointly with the upcoming upper house election.

If the opposition does call for a vote of no confidence, Abe will of course not worry about it, as the LDP controls everything, but it's his excuse, one he has been waiting for.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Shin-chan ain't worried, he's sitting an a lot of money from mommy and daddy.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Well, if the government is reporting that we'll need 30 million in savings to retire I guess people will be saving and not be feeding the economy. I for one will have to cut my spending to save for retirement. No more new furniture/house hold items, I will ensure my car will survive another 15 years, eat at home for now on, use a bicycle to get around town instead of public transport, just to name a few. There are so many ways we can save money but if everyone does it, what happens to the economy? Abe, can't have your cake and eat it to. Well, maybe you can, you're rich. I say if you have more than 50 million in savings, and no mortgage/rent you don't get a pension. And if you have passed on, you don't get a pension.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

The article fails to mention that 60% of the workforce are on short-term contracts for low salaries and very few have any savings at all.

15 ( +16 / -1 )

The article fails to mention that 60% of the workforce are on short-term contracts for low salaries and very few have any savings at all.

This is so far off the mark. The numbers are being based upon the following data, as Japanese have the HIGHEST amount of savings of just about every country on the planet.

Two-thirds of households saved less than the average 16.64 million yen, the data said, with median savings standing at 9.91 million yen. Some 10.2 percent of the top-saving families had more than 40 million yen each, while the bottom 11.2 percent had a cushion of less than one million yen, the ministry said.

https://www.rappler.com/world/5488-japanese-family-s-average-savings-us$207,000

However, these numbers get skewed by whom or what business takes the survey. According to a recent news program, roughly 1/4 of people here aged 60 or older have less than 1 Million in savings, not the 11% quoted here.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Gotta love how Aso and his boss deal with the report his own agency prepared.......sorry don,t like the reality as you presented it, I refuse to accept this because it causes the infamous Japanese ' public misunderstanding '. Geez the public here sure seems unable to ' understand' much in the eyes of these LDP blue blood clowns.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

The fatal flaw(or one of them) is that the scheme itself was never intended to be a long-term financial source for retirees. At their inception, these schemes were to provide ASSISTANCE to those over 65 years of age, which was also the approximate life expectancy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A hundred years later, with advances in health care, food production, and sanitation life expectancies far exceed the retirement plan age. It's simple math.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced stiff opposition criticism on Wednesday after a report warned that many retirees won't be able to live on pensions alone,

This is an announcement made with a purpose: to prepare us for the next announcement, which will be: "As you won't be able to live off your pension alone, we see no reason for us to pay it to you as it won't make a difference anyway."

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Disillusioned, you've thrown out that 60% figure before. I've never seen it reported anywhere near that high. Always closer to 40%, which is bad enough. If you have a link for it, please share it. Here's one from last year pegging it at 40:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/opinion/2018/02/12/editorials/job-security-irregular-workers/

5 ( +5 / -0 )

People who don't have the money (salary) will not be able to save any amount.

Tamaki got it right, when he says: “Holding back, hiding or even falsifying information......"

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Yubaru -

Did you notice that those statistics you quoted are all the past and based on people who worked throughout the bubble era. You need to read Disillusion’s post again. He is talking about the current generation, who will have very little savings and no pension in 30 years time.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Aso, 78, the wealthy scion of an elite political family, also said he’d never worried about supporting himself as he aged and didn’t know if he was receiving a pension.

Because he doesn't NEED a pension. Seriously, this guy is the worst. I wish ALL his money could be taken from him and he would need to support himself like the usual Taro. See what he thinks then.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Aso, 78, the wealthy scion of an elite political family, also said he’d never worried about supporting himself as he aged and didn’t know if he was receiving a pension.

Well then, surely he wouldn't mind if neither he nor similarly privileged old cronies got any pensions. I bet Abe would be glad to give up his, too.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

My native Canada pays a basic 47,000 yen month state pension, which no one can live on. So nearly everyone contributes to an employer system, puts savings in tax-free accounts (which Japan also has) or invests on their own.

I really don't understand the mentality of the Japanese public.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

I don’t know, but coming from the states and being born in the 60s, I have never even thought about having a pension that paid for my full retirement. I have always assumed that I have to save my own money. I’m surprised there are people who actually thought a pension would provide for all their retirement needs

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Aiming and on track (possible with a tiny teacher's salary) to save 100 million by retirement. Not even counting nenkin, just icing on the cake. Why people put so much faith in the state is beyond me. Its great when they are there, but don't count on it. The state isn't there for you, its there for itself. Sorry.... I keep calling it the state. I mean "Japanese society".

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

I say if you have more than 50 million in savings, and no mortgage/rent you don't get a pension

So two people with identical incomes, A is frugal, saves as much as possible, pays off his mortgage early, retires with 50 million in savings, and is expected to continue being frugal and living on what he has saved - no pension for Rich Man A.

Meanwhile B spends his income on eating out, drinking champagne and 50-year-old single malt, buying designer clothes, fast cars, world cruises, diamonds for his missis (and maybe a couple more ladies on the side), retires happy and tired but with nothing in the bank - and gets a pension.

Is that how you think it should work? (Granted, to have savings of 50 million you'd have to save an average of ¥1.25 million a year every year for 40 years. Not likely for the average Taro, unless he comes into an inheritance. Same thing applies though - A puts the inheritance in the bank, B spends it and again, B gets the pension)

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Anyone who expects the Japanese state pension system to provide a comfortable retirement is utterly deluded.

If you don't - or more probably can't - save up a good nest egg, you're shafted.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

The state pension in any country should be seen as an insurance policy against homelessness and starvation in old age, because that is essentially what it always has been intended as and no more. To live well in retirement you are going to need your own savings. If Japan’s politicians have neglected to explain this to their people up to this point (one minute to midnight), then they have only themselves to blame for the political consequences.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Third biggest global economy treating those who made it like 3rd world citizens.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

abe has to learn that tax payers money is given to him for doing the right job. Not for entertaining people like trump, who is for America only. imagine a normal Japanese working from morning to night and in retirement cannot feed themselves ???.What is the motivation in life. Work to die ???.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

TOKYO Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced stiff opposition criticism on Wednesday after a report warned that many retirees won't be able to live on pensions alone, a topic likely to become an issue in an election for the Diet's upper house.

Entire inquiries from the oppositions telling how incompetent they really are. Especially ex-DPJ did nothing either even with Mr. Pension (Nagatsuma) as the minister, so nothing can sound ridiculous as their inquiries.

Besides who actually have thought they would be able to live on pension alone? Who actually have made such announcements?

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Anyone who expects the Japanese state pension system to provide a comfortable retirement is utterly deluded.

If you don't - or more probably can't - save up a good nest egg, you're shafted.

-5 ( +1 / -6 )

Alwaysspeakingwisdon - those are wise words. I have a sudden sensation of deja vu.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

who actually have thought they would be able to live on pension alone? Who actually have made such announcements?

Finance Minister Taro Aso, who doubles as minister for financial services, refused last week to receive the report, saying the panel's estimate contradicted the government's view that the pension system serves as the basis of household finances during post-retirement years

https://japantoday.com/category/politics/fsa-estimates-couples-need-retirement-savings-of-up-to-30-mil.-yen

Anyone who expects the Japanese state pension system to provide a comfortable retirement is utterly deluded

It's supposed to provide the basics. For comfort, you have to do a bit more.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Basically, they are saying you need to save all of your bonus (if you get one). If you do that you should have enough money for retirement.

My target is to have about Y75 million in savings when I retire as I know the pension won't be enough. I think I can get there before I'm 65. The sooner the better.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

showchinmonoJune 20  03:02 pm JST

Entire inquiries from the oppositions telling how incompetent they really are. 

Given that one of the main roles for any opposition party is opposing government policy it's hard to see what they were doing as particularly incompetent. Then again, criticizing the opposition does seem to be a standard tactic for pro-regime commenters whenever there's news that puts the government in a bad light.

But the opposition should do more than just criticise. Perhaps they should put their best efforts into proposing the best possible solutions to problems like this, and table motions for votes in the Diet. Do you think any LDP politicians could put the national interest first and get behind a really good opposition motion and vote for it?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Meanwhile B spends his income on eating out, drinking champagne and 50-year-old single malt, buying designer clothes, fast cars, world cruises, diamonds for his missis (and maybe a couple more ladies on the side), retires happy and tired but with nothing in the bank - and gets a pension.

B has exhausted his money foolishly thinking someone else is gonna pay for him in retirement but the joke's on him, he needs to have stashed away 30 million at least to even have a show.

If the pension scheme were set up differently, with individual compulsory savings accounts - topped up by taxes where people were unable to save - everyone would start retirement with a minimum adequate amount of money to survive on. No one would need to have a "pension" then because it'd have already been provided for themselves - either by their own work or out of taxes for those who could not work.

It certainly does not make sense that rich people with loads of cash qualify to receive money from other people in their old age under the current, strained system. Japan's system is in trouble, the reality needs to be faced that pampering the rich is unaffordable.

to have savings of 50 million you'd have to save an average of ¥1.25 million a year every year for 40 years. Not likely for the average Taro, unless he comes into an inheritance

Or is a long-term investor, rather than just a saver.

I hope y'all have got your NISAs and iDeCos on the way to being maxed out. Help yourself because this current system isn't going to work for everyone!!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The same problem exists across the developed world. The systems in place are based on outdated concepts, some dating from the 19th century, and the governments have repeatedly kicked the can down the road over decades rather than grasp the nettle until now it has become unavoidable and consequently both more expensive and politically difficult.

My state pension, if I ever get old enough to get it (they keep increasing the age) at the last forecast was the equivalent of 70,205 yen a month, not enough to live on and yet some people have no other provision.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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