• Kyodo News


Economic and fiscal policy minister Kaoru Yosano says the government should in the long term consider raising from 65 the age at which people start receiving national pension benefits.

Yosano’s proposal is aimed at helping stabilize the pension plan’s financial picture and keeping seniors in the workforce, but it will also draw fire from many members of the scheme.

“Under the assumption that a person’s life lasts 90 years, we should consider extending the retirement age or raising the age at which pensions are payable,” Yosano told a government meeting Friday on achieving economic growth, a government official said.

He made the remarks amid ongoing discussions about social security and tax reforms in which the administration is seeking the involvement of opposition parties as it tries to navigate a divided Diet.

Introducing the idea of a “longevity economy that grows,” Yosano said many elderly people are “lively” and the government needs to review regulations and customs to adapt to such a society, according to the official.

Yosano later emphasized in a statement that he didn’t intend to say he is seeking to consider the age issue in the administration’s current reform effort.

“The remarks were about . . . Japan’s mid- and long-term vision,” he said.

The public pension system has a double-layer structure — the national pension that serves as a basic pension available to all citizens, and a government-managed pension insurance component for corporate employees and public servants.

The government-managed pension insurance serves as supplementary pensions for corporate employees and public servants.

The eligibility age for common pension benefits is 65, while the age at which people enrolled in the employees’ pension insurance or the mutual aid association start to receive benefits is gradually being raised from 60 to 65 by fiscal 2018.

In recent years, some European countries have decided to raise the pension eligibility age. Germany decided to raise it to 67 from 65 and Britain plans to eventually set the age at 68.

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