Japan's population problem forces changes to social security

TOKYO, Nov 08 (msn.com) - Japan has a shrinking pool of young workers to fund retirement and healthcare. The only answer appears to be raising pension and health deductions from paychecks, but that is likely to be deeply unpopular.

Japan's government is planning dramatic changes to the national pension scheme and healthcare payments as supporting the country's aging population strains public finances.

Advances in healthcare are enabling more Japanese to live longer than ever before, with government statistics released in August showing that a Japanese woman can expect to live to the age of 87 and a man to reach 81-years old.

At the same time, however, the number of births in 2021 fell to a post-World War II record low of just over 811,000. The number of working age people is also shrinking as more people enter retirement.

In response, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare is expected to propose significant changes to the pension scheme that all Japanese are required to contribute to, mandating an extension to the period that people have to pay premiums from the present 40 years to 45 years.

The ministry also intends to increase contributions to the national healthcare system paid by older citizens. Additional fees for medical treatment are also expected to be increased.

A final decision on the proposals is expected in 2024. ...continue reading


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