The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has warned that the government is likely to face strong opposition to plans currently under discussion to further raise the retirement age to 70.
The ministry this week announced survey results that reveal the public is not in favor of further raising the retirement age. The data comes days after the government revealed plans to raise the minimum age for employee pension payouts to 68, further extending a planned rise to 65 from 60 by the year ending in March 2026 for men and March 2031 for women, in an attempt to meet surging costs to care for a rapidly aging society.
The proposed changes are expected to face opposition from industry groups and labor unions, however. The ministry announced Thursday that in a survey of 138,000 small, medium and large companies, only 17% of employees favored working until 70 years of age. Moreover, only 47.9% favored working until 65.
In small to medium-sized businesses, 50% of employees favored working until 65, but this number fell to 23.8% among employees of large companies, the ministry said in a statement. Although the government previously announced hopes that big business would bear the majority of the cost burden, the survey data reveals that the proposal to raise the retirement age to 70 has little support among large companies.
The ministry added that the government would need to enforce the retirement age by ensuring that the elderly could secure jobs, especially since many companies retain 60 as their mandatory retirement age.
Social security spending in Japan accounts for around one third of the $1 trillion state budget and the amount is growing steadily, analysts say. Japan's outstanding debt is already twice the size of its $5 trillion economy. A welfare ministry panel is due to hold further retirement age discussions toward the end of the year.© Japan Today